One of the world’s best jockeys, Frankie Dettori, is set to ride in Hong Kong for the first time in eight years after accepting an invitation to compete in next month’s Longines International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley.
Dettori is always high on the Jockey Club’s wish list and the popular Italian confirmed he will take part in the series, as well as the Hong Kong International Races, as he continues his globetrotting adventures.
“I ride at Lingfield on Saturday – then I head out to Japan on Tuesday. I’m not sure what I’m riding out there at the moment, though,” Dettori told Racing TV.
“Because I’m going to Japan, I will be fit from that – so it makes sense to go to Hong Kong afterwards. I will be doing two weeks in Japan, then I will be doing a week in Hong Kong.
“I’m going to do the International Jockeys’ Challenge at Happy Valley. I’ve won it three times before, so I hope we can have a bit of fun again in that.
“After that I will then be riding at Sha Tin on Hong Kong Cup day – which should be good.”
Dettori is the headline name for year’s edition of the IJC, with the 48-year-old on the verge of being named the World’s Best Jockey for the third time in the past five years after another stellar season.
He won this event when he last competed in 2011, while he has been a fixture at the Hong Kong International Races over the years, winning six of the features – three Cups, two Vases and a Mile.
Dettori’s presence is a huge boost to the event after the Jockey Club cancelled Wednesday night’s Happy Valley meeting over safety concerns caused by the escalating political and social chaos in Hong Kong.
The superstar is the first international to confirm his attendance with Joao Moreira, Zac Purton, Karis Teetan and Vincent Ho Chak-yiu set to fly the Bauhinia flag.
Last season’s champion jockey (Purton) is assured a place as are the next two highest on the championship table (Moreira and Teetan), with the leading local rider (Ho) granted the fourth spot. The cut-off date for those positions comes after the meeting on November 20 but it is highly unlikely there will be any changes.
The IJC is a four-race contest on December 4 with the 12 jockeys being randomly allocated horses (within their weight range) and the first three across the line earning points.
The jockey with the most points collects the title and the HK$500,000 first prize, with British-based Brazilian Silvestre de Sousa claiming the trophy last year.