Rispoli granted licence as Suborics returns
Umberto Rispoli will become only the second Italian jockey ever to take up a full-time licence in Hong Kong next month, while popular Austrian rider Andreas Suborics makes a remarkable return to the riding roster in March.
Frankie Dettori, who had 25 rides during a one-month stint in 1991-92, is the only Italian rider to have competed here on a regular basis previously, so Rispoli's licensing yesterday from February 20 to April 29 is not ground-breaking but it is certainly different.
Last October, Rispoli told the UK Racing Post he was keen to ride overseas and, with Italian racing in total disarray, he has been granted his wish with a club jockey contract which will see him take Maxime Guyon's place.
Rispoli, 23, rode 245 winners to win his nation's championship in 2010, bettering by 16 the Italian record for victories in a season, previously held by Frankie Dettori's father, Gianfranco, which had stood for 38 years.
That was Rispoli's second successive Italian championship title, and the young rider has won over 1,100 races at a strike rate of 16 per cent, with two domestic Group Ones, since beginning his career as an apprentice in 2005.
Rispoli also rode in England four years ago and he had a stint in Japan last year from January until the end of March, with his wins including the Group One sprint, the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, on Kinshasa No Kiseki at his final meeting. He also claimed two Group Two events there.
For Suborics, 40, a new club jockey contract from March 1 until the end of the season marks the completion of his comeback to riding since undergoing brain surgery in April 2010 that ended his last stint here after he had been complaining of serious headaches.
Suborics (pictured) subsequently retired but several months later announced a shock comeback that started on New Year's Eve 2010.
The jockey, who won a Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Silvano at Sha Tin 11 years ago, quickly found winning form again in Europe and gets the call-up again from a committee clearly looking for variety.
Suborics has won 16 races here, including the QE II Cup and several legs of the International Jockeys' Championship at Happy Valley.
Extensions until the end of the season were granted to Tim Clark and Mark du Plessis, while Jeff Lloyd, who has already flagged that he will move to Queensland, was handed a short-term extension. Lloyd's half-season permit runs out on February 1 but the extension will see him continue until Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby day on March 18.