Melbourne champion jockey Steven King will ride in Hong Kong from the beginning of December to the end of the season. King had his final rides in Australia on Saturday and will jet into Hong Kong on Sunday in the first instance as a replacement rider for American veteran Craig Perret, who declined the Jockey Club mid-season three-month licence recently. King, who has ridden with great success in Hong Kong previously, was already contracted to ride here from March 1 until the end of the season in early June. Efforts to find an American replacement for Perret failed and King informed the Jockey Club that he could ride for the six-month period. An official Jockey Club announcement is expected shortly but King has already informed leading trainers Lee Freedman and Bart Cummings that he is no longer available for rides in Australia. King has taken a week's holiday to prepare for his unexpectedly lengthy Hong Kong stint. At Sandown in Melbourne on Saturday, King wrapped up his season there by winning the Group Three Sandown Stakes on Cut Up Rough, which is now third reserve for the International Bowl. He tried to secure the ride on Australia's Bowl contender, Catalan Opening, who takes over the position of Mahogany, which will be officially scratched from the event today. Bill Charles, racing manager to trainer Cummings, said: 'Steven asked for the ride because he will be in Hong Kong but it has already gone to Darren Beadman and he understands the position. 'He has told Bart and Lee Freedman, for whom he does a lot of riding, that he won't be riding in Australia again until he returns from Hong Kong next June. 'He is prepared to miss out on a couple of big races in the Melbourne Autumn Carnival to spend the six months in Hong Kong.' The addition of King to the riding ranks for an extended period will be a boost and there will be considerable strength in depth, particularly over the next three months when Jason Weaver and British champion jockey Kieren Fallon will also be here. Beadman's decision to ride Catalan Opening has sparked a controversy with Rick Hore-Lacy, the trainer of the other Australian Bowl runner, Spartacus, claiming the jockey had a long-time agreement to partner his sprinter. But Beadman has declared his intention to ride Catalan Opening and several leading riders have offered their services for Spartacus.