Star Australian rider Hugh Bowman will take part in next month’s Longines International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley after successfully appealing the one-month suspension he copped in the Melbourne Cup.
Bowman got the 35-meeting ban reduced to 23 meetings on Tuesday, which means he can ride again from November 27 and ensures he will be able to compete in the IJC on December 5 before partnering Werther at the Hong Kong International Races on December 9.
The reigning “World’s Best Jockey” won the IJC in 2016 and will represent Australia after another sterling season highlighted by the mighty mare Winx.
“I think it’s a lot fairer than what I was given on the day,” Bowman said after the reduction in penalty stemming from three charges. “Obviously, I’m going to miss the Japan Cup, which I’m disappointed about, but that said, the findings were fair.”
The Jockey Club was set to announce the full list of international riders making the trip to Hong Kong for the event on Tuesday, but a last-minute withdrawal from Europe scuppered those plans.
Silvestre de Sousa, who arrived in Hong Kong a fortnight ago for a winter stint, is poised to represent Britain after being crowned champion jockey there for the third time last month.
Javier Castellano will compete under the flag of the United States of America after a sterling year where he has won seven Group One races, including the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with City Of Light earlier this month.
“I’m really excited to go over to Hong Kong and represent the USA and I’m excited to compete against the best jockeys in the world,” Castellano said.
It is expected the names of the other five members of the eight-strong international roster will be released on Wednesday.
From a Hong Kong perspective, Zac Purton – last year’s IJC winner – is a confirmed starter after winning last season’s championship, while Karis Teetan will join him after enjoying a strong start to the term with 24 winners.
That leaves two spots remaining for the those flying the Bauhinia flag – one for the jockey who sits third on the table (behind Purton and Teetan) and one for the leading local – with the cut-off coming after the meeting on November 21.
Matthew Poon Ming-fai is currently in third spot on the championship with 14 wins, but he will have just one more meeting to add to his tally before starting the first of two suspensions – the latest coming from Singapore on Sunday.
Vincent Ho Chak-yiu is next in line with 13 victories. He resumes from suspension on Wednesday night and is in the box-seat to claim a berth.
Douglas Whyte and Chad Schofield both have 12 wins each and are also in the mix.