Hong Kong will host the two hottest young riding talents in European racing following yesterday's announcement that Jamie Spencer and Christophe Soumillon will join the jockey roster for the first time in December. Spencer, 22, is the rising superstar of British racing and has been compared with the legendary Lester Piggott, while Soumillon, 21, holds a similar status in France where he took over from Gerald Mosse as retained jockey to the Aga Khan last year. The pair will be joined in Hong Kong from December 9 to March 23 by Ireland's current champion jockey Pat Smullen and Germany-based Austrian rider Andreas Suborics. 'I am delighted with the young talent we have coming for this period,' said Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Jockey Club's director of racing. 'In Jamie Spencer we will have the standout young star of the English scene and Christophe Soumillon would fit the same category in France. And our new jockeys will start a week earlier this year, which we hope will give them a chance to become involved in the International Races on December 15.' Irish-born Spencer burst on the scene as a 17-year-old apprentice when he won the 1998 Irish 1,000 Guineas and was champion apprentice in his homeland the following year, as well as fourth in the overall championship. But his career has really taken off since his move to England in 2000 when he linked up with trainer Luca Cumani - the man who guided Frankie Dettori's early career. Spencer now has seven Group One wins to his credit, including another Irish 1,000 Guineas this season and the Singapore Airlines International Cup on the Cumani-trained Endless Hall last year. He is also a regular jockey for the Godolphin and Aidan O'Brien operations. In the current UK season, Spencer is lying 13th on the table with 78 winners at a 13 per cent strike-rate. Belgian-born Soumillon has followed a similarly meteoric path, winning the French apprentice championship in 1998 and winning five Group One races, including the 2001 French Derby on Anabaa Blue. He rides that horse as one of the favourites in Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Soumillon proved a sensation riding in Macau last winter when he scored 33 winners in just six weeks and also impressed on a flying visit to Sha Tin with a close third on Terre A Terre in the Hong Kong Cup last December. He went on to take the Group One Dubai Duty Free on the same filly in March. Smullen, 25, stable rider for top Irish trainer Dermot Weld and champion jockey of Ireland for the past two seasons, will be having his second stint in Hong Kong. Although he was not a major success during his previous tour of duty in the 1999-2000 season, with just four winners from his 73 rides, Engelbrecht-Bresges said he fitted the Jockey Club's policy of 'blooding' riders for Hong Kong. 'We have a policy of bringing young, promising riders here even if they might be at the stage where they have not fully developed their skills, and we hope to bring them on as well as give them a taste of Hong Kong racing,' he explained. Engelbrecht-Bresges said that Smullen had improved after his previous Hong Kong experience, borne out by his two championship wins in Ireland since. 'I think it is important that we allow for this sort of advancement and give this sort of jockey another chance to prove themselves here,' he said. German-based Andreas Suborics has also joined the roster again despite troubles with careless riding bans which cut deeply into his riding time during his first stint last season, when he had six winners from 84 rides. The Licensing Committee yesterday also considered submissions from apprentice Cliff Lai Ka-kui to show cause why his licence should continue. After deliberating on Lai's arguments and his disciplinary record, the committee decided that Lai had failed to show cause and his licence was withdrawn with immediate effect. 'Cliff Lai has the right of appeal against this decision and that is the first thing he has to consider,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said. 'There is no bar to him asking for employment with the Jockey Club in some other capacity and then his suitability for that would need to be considered,' he said.