Young Australian jockey Sam Clipperton is keeping his disappointment in check and trying to maintain perspective after being replaced on the John Moore-trained Booming Delight by star jockey Ryan Moore for the BMW Hong Kong Derby.
Clipperton has ridden Booming Delight to three straight victories to put the import into Derby calculations but was denied his first ride in the prestigious race when owner Peter Law Kin-sang requested the services of the champion English rider.
“I’m 23 years old, so I reckon I have got 20 more years to win a Derby yet,” Clipperton said. “I just have to move on, it happens to every jockey at some stage and although I’m disappointed, it’s part of a jockey’s career.
“It’s my first season and I’m pretty lucky to be where I am, whether I rode him in the Derby or not, he gave me three wins so I owe him a lot.”
Clipperton has had a great rookie season so far, with 25 wins from 50 meetings to be sixth in the jockeys’ championship and vying for a spot in the top five with Douglas Whyte and Brett Prebble.
He has nine rides on Sunday include three for Moore, but it is last start winner Citron Sprit for Ricky Yiu Poon-fai that represents one of Clipperton’s best chances in a 1,400m Class Three.
“The worry is that it was a wet track last start and that maybe helped him, but before that his runs had been great,” he said. “I know he was being beaten by some wide margins but a couple of times he was held up until late and was only getting out when the bird had flown, and one of those was behind Pakistan Star.”
Moore’s Invincible Dragon has drawn a tough gate in the Hong Kong Macau Trophy but Clipperton believes the five-year-old is right in the mix on a seven-day back up.
“I know it’s a wide open race but I’m pretty confident about his chances and I think the back up will suit this horse really well,” he said.
“It was a solid effort over the mile with 133 pounds, but he hit the front and peaked on his run. Maybe he didn’t run a strong mile with that big weight. But back at 1,400m he will be strong, there’s some tough opposition there with Jolly Banner and Simply Invincible, so he’ll have to bring his A-game, but I’m confident he will run a big race. It will be tactics that will decide whether or not he can win.”