Bayliss hoping Champion's can find his Way again
Suspensions are an occupational hazard on any rider but they also create opportunities and, with Joao Moreira, Karis Teetan and Derek Leung all banned for this Saturday's Sha Tin fixture, opportunity knocks for several riders.
Aussie rider Regan Bayliss hasn't found things easy in his first full season in HK, notching just two winners from 64 mounts, but patience is a virtue and Moreira'a absence has opened the door for him to partner Champion's Way in the featured Chevalier Cup at 7.20.
Bayliss won aboard Champion's Way at Sha Tin back in March and the four-year-old ended the season as a prime contender for the 2020 Hong Kong Derby after winning six of his seven starts including a decisive G3 success.
Things didn't go to plan when John Size's gelding was turned over at 2.2 in the Panasonic Cup over 1400m two weeks ago but 22-year-old Bayliss is hoping to see the real Champion's Way back over 1600m this weekend.
"It probably looked a little bit disappointing but the track was pretty firm and nothing was really making ground," he said. "If you don't get opportunities here you can't do anything so it's good to be able to get on a nice one on Saturday and hopefully I can capitalise."
Ho puts on a show to earn final IJC slot
Vincent Ho has come a long way since he spent a night fetching and carrying water and towels for some of the world's most famous riders on International Jockeys' Championship night at Happy Valley.
Vincent Ho makes it a double with a rails-hugging ride aboard Naboo Star! #HappyWednesday #HKracing pic.twitter.com/Cb4GRuK1LG
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) 20 November 2019
Hong Kong's leading homegrown rider was a starstruck teenage apprentice when he was assigned to 'gofer' duty back in 2008 and, in those dim and distant days before selfies took over, he duly took the chance to get an autograph from his idol Christophe Soumillon.
Ho will be the one on the receiving end of selfie requests at the Valley on December 4th after securing the final IJC place with a double at the Valley on Wednesday and longtime ally Caspar Fownes was swift to pay tribute.
"I'm very proud of Vincent," he said. "He's a young man who keeps working very hard to improve himself. You can see from the way he's riding that he's a confident jockey now and he deserves to be in the top few jockeys in Hong Kong."
Sixty looks to move into seventh heaven
Rise High's defeat of Waikuku and Beauty Generation in last month's Sha Tin Trophy remains the highlight of Ho's season so far but Golden Sixty has also looked full of promise and Francis Lui's gelding looks to continue his striking progress in the finale at 9.00.
Golden Sixty is a star! ⭐️ Vincent Ho brings up a race-to-race double as Francis Lui's charge takes his record to five wins from six starts. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/M5ZfSve8c6
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) 20
The four-year-old made it five from six with a very impressive course win last month and is bound to be favourite again as he bids to defy a 10lb hike for that success.