Racing

Soumillon back at the double

Cleared to ride after recovering from Covid-19, Belgian ace scores on Bella Baby and Winning For All

Returning for the first time since early last month, Belgian ace Christophe Soumillon bounced back in style in his short-term stint in Hong Kong on Sunday.

The 10-time French champion jockey posted a double with Bella Baby in the opener and Winning For All in Race 8 from the card of 10 at Sha Tin.

Conceding he is pitted against two of the world's top five jockeys - Joao Moreira, who also rode two winners, and Zac Purton - he has no plans to rest on his laurels, outlining plans to ride at 120lb (54.5kg) before his stint ends on Feb 14.

"I'm really happy, it's a good start," said Soumillon, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 on Nov 7, shortly before the Breeders' Cup meeting at Keeneland in America. But he was given the all-clear by the Hong Kong Jockey Club on Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, today, my draws weren't the best, so I had to find a way to ride a bit differently to the way the horses normally like it.

"I got two winners but, with better draws today, maybe I could have got one more.

"But it's a good start, I feel really well . I'm still not 100 per cent fit, I think I'm still at 90. More racing and trackwork will make me stronger.

"I'm very happy also with my weight, because a few years ago, I couldn't ride 122 (pounds). I'm going to try to get to 120 in the next few weeks. That's my target.

"The thing is when you come here, you can show people that you are motivated and you can still do what you do best. It's good to get a nice start, I'm very happy." - HKJC

HORSE RACING