History beckons in Wednesday night’s Longines International Jockeys’ Championship (IJC) at Happy Valley, with Zac Purton seeking a hat-trick of wins and a record fourth victory overall in the prestigious competition.
Purton is a $2.75 favourite to win again, while Hugh Bowman ($4.75), Silvestre de Sousa ($8) and Matthew Chadwick ($8) are also in single figures.
There are four races with 12 points handed out for first, six for second and four for third. The jockey with the most points is declared the champion.
Who will take out the HK$500,000 first prize? Here is the assessment from our team of tipsters.
Sam Agars – racing editor
Purton secured his third IJC victory without even needing to win a race last year, but he can do it in victories this time around, with Supreme Lucky and Packing Famous looking clear top picks.
While the 24 points he would garner if he were to win aboard those two would be enough to get him home, Purton also has chances on Copartner Era and Xponential.
Mickael Barzalona was looking Purton’s biggest danger before succumbing to Covid on Wednesday morning, and his replacement, Derek Leung Ka-chun, can get in on the points aboard Circuit Seven and Win Win Fighter.
Mark Worwood – form guide editor
No one has ridden more Happy Valley winners than Purton. No one has won more IJC titles than Purton. No one has a better book of IJC rides than Purton, with him being my top pick in two races and second pick in one of the other two events.
Purton does not need a helping hand to dominate on Hong Kong soil, but he received one when the Jockey Club allocated the IJC rides. He is the one to beat, and a fourth IJC crown is his for the taking.
Phillip Woo – racing writer
Woo’s tips have De Sousa adding another IJC crown to the one he bagged in 2018, with wins aboard Oversubscribed and Adios carrying the Brazilian to a narrow victory over Purton.
Vincent Wong (Shannon) – statistics editor
Like Woo, Wong is backing De Sousa to add further silverware to his cabinet, tipping him to amass 24 points by saluting aboard Star Contact and Adios. He has Purton only two points behind, though, backing the reigning champ to bank points aboard Supreme Lucky, Packing Famous and Xponential.
Racing Post Online
The ratings suggest a local victory is on the cards, but not the one many may think, with a win aboard Faribault and a second with Gold Marquis enough for Matthew Chadwick to seal the title from a host of chasers.
Tom Wood – Jockey Club commentator
The race caller has Purton in the placings in every IJC race, with victory aboard Supreme Lucky in the opening leg setting the tone for the star Australian’s whopping tally of 26 points.