Regan Bayliss says it is a “dream come true” to be riding in Hong Kong with old friend Chad Schofield as he heads to Sha Tin on Sunday armed with six rides.
Bayliss has spent the week soaking up as much information as possible and hopes his decision to come to Hong Kong early will pay immediate dividends.
“Chad Schofield has been great, we’re really close friends and it’s a dream come true to be riding here with him,” said Bayliss, who watched on from the grandstand at Sha Tin last weekend.
“He’s been a great help to me and all the boys have been very good at giving me a few tips here and there.
“I’ve met so many people, from jockeys to owners to trainers. I’m glad I came a week before my first ride, it’s been a very good grounding this week.”
While John Moore was quick to throw his support behind Bayliss, the fact the Australian also rides for Frankie Lor Fu-chuen, Chris So Wai-yin, Dennis Yip Chor-hong and Richard Gibson on Sunday augurs well for the future.
“I’ve got six rides which I’m very happy with because it gives me a chance to really slide into things and Sunday will be a good experience, I’ll get to learn the track,” Bayliss said. “I’ve got rides for various different trainers, which I think is very important.”
History suggests winning early is crucial for new jockeys as they try to make a name for themselves and having the support of the likes of Moore and Lor is a solid start for Bayliss.
“[Lor’s] got a massive boom back in Australia so it’s very good that I was able to gain a ride for him at my first meeting,” Bayliss said.
“Obviously a winner on Sunday would be lovely but it’s not the end of the world. It will be a good learning curve.”
Of his six rides, Bayliss is most looking forward to climbing aboard the Moore-trained Beauty Energy in the Class Four On Ting Handicap (1,400m), a horse that has placed in two of his past three runs.
“I really like Beauty Energy, he’s been knocking on the door and with the right run and the right tempo in the race I think we will see him finishing hard,” Bayliss said.
Bayliss also rides Sea Jade for Moore in the Class Two Sam Shing Handicap (1,000m) and is hopeful he can improve on his first-up run this season, where he finished 10th over 1,200m at Happy Valley on February 13 after returning from a 12-month lay-off with a tendon injury.
“Sea Jade second-up back to the 1,000m should suit a lot better. I galloped him on [Thursday] morning and I’m really happy with the way he is ticking over as well,” he said.
Bayliss’ book is rounded out with Paddington for So, The Full Bloom for Yip, Cheerful Star for Lor and a horse he says he is “looking forward to riding” in Jolly Convergence for Gibson: “On his day he can run a really good race.”