Derek Leung secures third IJC bid
Hong Kong's top local rider joins Moreira, Purton and Teetan in LONGINES International Jockeys' Championship
Jockey Derek Leung booked his spot as a LONGINES International Jockeys' Championship (IJC) representative with a flourish, riding a double at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Leung, last season's Tony Cruz Award winner for the leading local rider, had all but locked in the berth heading into Wednesday night's meeting with a three-win buffer over Keith Yeung.
However, his double aboard Golden Glory and Magnetism on Wednesday night saw him confirmed as one of four Hong Kong representatives for the jockey series, joining Joao Moreira, Zac Purton and Karis Teetan in flying the Bauhinia flag at Happy Valley on Dec 6.
"I am honoured to be able to represent Hong Kong," said Leung.
"It is always a big deal to be able to ride against some of the best jockeys around, but I cannot wait. Hopefully, I can do Hong Kong proud."
It will be the third straight year that Leung represents Hong Kong.
He finished fifth in 2015, while he failed to accrue any points when equal 11th last year.
"I haven't had the best book of rides in either year that I have ridden," said Leung.
"I feel that I am riding in terrific form currently, so if I get a better group of horses, hopefully I can perform strongly."
Leung took the opener, the Class 5 Dumbarton Handicap over 1,200m, aboard Francis Lui-trained Golden Glory.
"He seems to be a different horse this season," said Leung. "He's matured a little bit."
He then added the last, the Class 3 Stirling Handicap over 1,650m, on the David Ferraris-trained Magnetism.
It was the second leg of a brace for Ferraris, too, having earlier saddled up Douglas Whyte-ridden London City to win the first section of the Class 4 Hamilton Handicap over 1,200m.
As Hong Kong's current champion jockey, Moreira has the first of four berths allocated to riders from Hong Kong's excellent talent pool.
He won the IJC title in 2012.
The remaining three places are filled by two of Hong Kong's current leading jockeys and the leading local jockey (a graduate of the HKJC Apprentice Jockeys' School and currently claiming no more than a 3lb (1.36kg) allowance) as at Wednesday night.
Purton and Teetan are the second and third-placed riders - behind Moreira - in the Hong Kong premiership standings, with 30 wins and 20 wins apiece.
Leung is the leading local jockey with 14 victories.
In accordance with the prospectus for the LONGINES IJC races, Leung's normal two-pound weight allowance will not be applicable in the four legs of this event.
The Hong Kong quartet will face two-time IJC winner Ryan Moore of England, IJC defending champion Hugh Bowman of Australia, Leandro Henrique of Brazil, last year's French champion jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot, two-time Italian champion Cristian Demuro, Keita Tosaki of Japan, two-time UK champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa and Flavien Prat, a US-based Frenchman who is a two-time Breeders' Cup winner and, who in September, won three Group 1s in one day. - HKJC