Hong Kong racing’s summer break has disappeared in the blink of the eye but the territory’s top jockeys have not wasted a second, jet-setting around the globe for all manner of reasons.
There’s been weddings, engagements, more winners for those that just can’t enough, live sport of a different kind and plenty of rest and relaxation in some of the world’s most exotic locations.
Rising Australian star Sam Clipperton’s mind was far from the track when he married his girlfriend Morgan in July, calling it the “best day of his life”.
The 24-year-old is back in Hong Kong with a spring in his step as he looks to build on his 18 winners from last season, although he will have to deal with a slow start due to a carry-over suspension.
A post shared by Sam Clipperton (@samclipperton94) on Jul 22, 2018 at 11:21pm PDT
Another young star in Chad Schofield also took the plunge, with the 24-year-old getting engaged to girlfriend Hannah Butler during the summer.
But wedding plans may have to take a back seat as Schofield looks to build on his best season in Hong Kong – he rode 38 winners in 2017-18 – and go some way to filling the void left by Brazilian star Joao Moreira.
Defending champion jockey Zac Purton opted for some down time, kicking back in Hawaii with wife Nicole.
It was a well-earned break for the Australian, who rode 136 winners last season and enters the new campaign under a weight of expectation after the departure of his fierce rival Moreira.
A post shared by Zac Purton (@zacpurton) on Jul 19, 2018 at 3:23pm PDT
Veteran Douglas Whyte also opted to rest his weary legs, with the 46-year-old 13-time champion soaking up the rays in Mykonos.
Whyte could only muster 28 winners last term but the veteran has nine rides in Sunday’s opener and will be confident of a big start.
A post shared by Douglas Whyte (@canridehorses) on Aug 20, 2018 at 9:36pm PDT
Karis Teetan took the chance to return home to his native Mauritius, hitting the water with girlfriend Xaviere.
Teetan is as well-placed as anyone to capitalise on the absence of the Magic Man and will be targeting a top-two finish come next July.
A post shared by Karis Teetan (@karisteetan) on Aug 17, 2018 at 8:14pm PDT
Irishman Neil Callan overlooked the sun and sand for the dour British summer but had a fairly good reason, watching Liverpool dismantle West Ham 4-0 in their season opener at Anfield.
If Callan starts the season anything like his football team has, he’ll surpass his 25 wins from last term in no time.
It wasn’t all rest and relaxation, though, with Vincent Ho Chak-yiu and Matthew Poon Ming-fai taking the opportunity to further hone their riding skills.
Ho notched his first win in the United Kingdom on August 9, booting X-Rated to victory at Haydock Park.
“You just need to be more patient. The jockeys here are very strong, very competitive and that is why I came to learn,” Ho said of his UK experience.
“The pacing is nice, too. It was faster than I expected because when I rode in France it was very slow. I tried to wait as long as I could and he just kept fighting.”
Poon landed a hat-trick on the last day of his Singapore cameo earlier this month, with the highlight coming with victory aboard Preditor in the Group Three Jumbo Jet Trophy over 1,400m.
And when he wasn’t riding winners, Poon was visiting his former boss Richard Jolly in Adelaide.