Uchida comes fifth overall in H.K. International Jockeys' Championship
Japan's leading rider Hiroyuki Uchida finished fifth overall in the Cathay Pacific International Jockeys' Championship event held at Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong on Wednesday night, December 8.
Uchida was invited to participate for the first time in the series along with eight other top jockeys from around the world, including such big names as Ryan Moore, Douglas Whyte, Brett Prebble, Johnny Murtagh, and Frenchmen Christophe Lemaire and Olivier Peslier.
Last year saw a three-win split of the top place by Lemaire, Moore and Murtagh, but this year English rider Ryan Moore took it all. A recent standout in Japan with his win of the World Super Jockeys Series, Japan's version of the Hong Kong event, Moore also captured the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup last month aboard Snow Fairy, now in Hong Kong for a run in Sunday's Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin Racecourse.
Moore finished the series with a total of 24 points, acquired from wins of both the first and last leg of the series. The three-time English champion rode the 6-year-old Encosta de Lago gelding Something Special to a win of the first leg, and guided the 7-year-old Western Winter gelding Fearless to a thrilling last-moment win of the final race.
Delighted, Moore said: "It is really nice to win this event, on my very own this time. Especially good as I didn't think I held much chance coming into it." Moore, who has four rides in the International Races, added, "This is a nice warm up for the big races at Sha Tin on Sunday.".
Six points behind Moore as series' runnerup was Douglas Whyte, 10-time champion in Hong Kong. Whyte captured the third leg partnered with My Goal, a 6-year-old gelding by Jungle Pocket, and rode the second-place finisher, Ho Wongchoy, in the last leg, just barely missing out on the win to Moore's Fearless.
Australia's Nash Rawiller ended with a total of 12 points for third place. His 12 points were gained from his win of the second race aboard Record High, a 5-year-old gelding by Falbrav.
Fourth-place among the riders was Prebble, whose book going into the event had been considered the best of the riders. Prebble acquired points for a third-place in the first leg and a second in the third leg for a total of 10 points.
"Even though it's overseas, it's the same, winning is everything and I rode with the same intent I always do," Uchida said. "The field at Happy Valley tends to break up coming into the straight, which one could say is similar to the local racing in Japan," he noted. "The way the races themselves unfolded was no different from Japan but seeing the way jockeys used to riding around the world found their positions and used their whips was something you had to be there riding with them to understand. It was a learning experience," Uchida said with characteristic modesty.
Also participating in the championship were Howard Cheng of Hong Kong, U.S.A.-based Julien Leparoux, South Africa's Anton Marcus, and Joao Moreira of Singapore.
Taking part in the championship for the first time in addition to Japan's Uchida were Rawiller, Moreira, and Leparoux.
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