Olivier Peslier, Frankie Dettori and Andrasch Starke - the three past winners of Hong Kong's International Jockeys' Championship - were cautiously optimistic yesterday of a repeat in tonight's 2001 renewal at Happy Valley. The European trio, part of the throng of riding talent descending on the city venue for the three-race series, each singled out one of their three mounts as a standout to send them on their way, but were calling for a bit of luck if they are going to snare the main prize. 'I was hoping you could tell me something,' Dettori laughed when asked about his chances yesterday. 'I see Noble Boy has won his last two starts, so I guess he must be a great chance on his form in the first leg. The other horses, Super Splendid and Kindred Spirits, I don't know how they've been going. I'll be guided by the trainers, but at least they haven't drawn too badly and you always need some luck at a small track like Happy Valley. 'Anyway, it will be a fun night like it always is. Sunday is the big day, the big horses, the big prize-money. Everything comes down to Sunday but this Jockeys' Championship is a great night every year, the Jockey Club does a very good job with the staging and we'll be out there doing our best to win it.' The charismatic Italian is based in Britain but rides tonight under the flag of the United Arab Emirates, home base of the powerful Godolphin stable, for whom he has three rides in Sunday's big events - Tobougg (Hong Kong Cup) China Visit (Mile) and Ekraar (Vase). He flew into Hong Kong on Monday as the winner of the Mauritius jockeys' series last weekend, so he goes to Happy Valley as the form runner. 'Yes, I'm a last-start winner, which can't be bad,' he said. 'In Mauritius, it is a six-race series, in 32-degree [Celsius] heat and 95 per cent humidity, so it can be hard work. I was lucky enough to get on a couple of horses there which took me around on the bridle so it wasn't too tough.' Peslier is also something of a specialist in these jockeys' invitation events, having won the World Super Jockeys' Series in Japan on two occasions, as well as performing well on his visits to Hong Kong. The French ace, who rides Zenno El Cid in the Mile, Caitano (Vase) and Saddle Up (Cup) on Sunday, said yesterday: 'I won in the first year and I was second the next time to Frankie, so I've had good success here. They tell me Born Dragon has a good chance in the third leg, so I hope I can finish with a winner. I don't know too much about the other horses [Blessings' Partner and Successful Spirit], but I'll discuss things with the trainers.' Peslier said luck was vital at every stage of any jockeys' series. 'First we need luck with the horses, then we need luck with the draw and finally we need luck in the race,' he said. 'The draw is very important at Happy Valley. You need a horse with good speed and you must have a clean race to be in with a chance. It will be fairer this year because there are only 12 runners in each race and I think that will give everyone a chance, even if they are drawn wide. If there are too many runners, there is a lot of interference and it is not easy.' Starke won the series with a double on his Happy Valley debut last year, but the four-time German champion is not daring to predict a repeat. 'That would be too much to expect,' he said. 'Last year was a dream for me. It was the most amazing day of my life - the crowd was fantastic and the atmosphere electric. It was a better feeling than winning two German Derbies. I think you only get a chance to win something like that once in your lifetime, but I hope I am wrong. 'I would be happy with one win this time. I have a nice ride in the fourth race, Romantic Venture, but the other two [Telecom Prince and Huangdi] are not so good on paper. In fact, that was what I thought going into last year's races, so maybe I will be lucky again. The only difference this time is that I know the track.' Starke, who went on to have five more winners last season in his first stint as a Club jockey, will be riding in Hong Kong until Derby Day and has one ride in the International races aboard Ivan Allan's Plenty-Plenty in the Sprint. 'I'm very happy to be back and I'm looking forward to the racing here, it's very special. I have had a good season in Europe and I am German champion again, so I hope I can have more success in Hong Kong. 'This is a big challenge for me, I know it is going to be tough, but if you want to be the best you have to compete with the best.' Most of the other jockeys in tonight's series are well versed in Hong Kong racing, especially South African duo Douglas Whyte and Felix Coetzee, who represent the home team along with Eddie Lai. Locally based Shane Dye rides for New Zealand, with Damien Oliver representing Australia and Gary Stevens flying the flag for the United States. Irishman Michael Kinane and Kevin Darley, last year's British champion, are the other European-based riders in the line-up, which is completed by Japanese idol Yutaka Take. The series comprises three races, with points awarded to the first five placegetters in each event. Twelve points go to the winner and six to the runner-up, with four, three and two points for the minor places. The rider with the highest points total takes the trophy and $200,000, with the runner-up receiving $100,000. In addition, each race carries a 30 per cent prize-money bonus.