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Martin Harley’s Hong Kong Diary: Ready and raring to go again

Harley is back with his exclusive insight

It’s great to be back in action this week after being ruled out of riding last week because of suspension – and I’m really raring to go.

I’ve been keeping myself sharp during the week off with plenty of trackwork and I’ve also been taking part in more trials. I had four trials on one of the days during the week and they’re a really interesting experience for horse and jockey.

Basically, they’re like a miniature race but with no prize-money (a bit like normal races in the UK you could say!) and are excellent for educating young horses.

You’re booked up to ride by trainers like you would be for a proper race, you stick on the owner’s set of silks over your body protector and then you have a little race from the stalls.

It’s a good education for horses before they race and something that is used in other parts of the world. It’s also been brought in on a limited front in Britain so it’ll be interesting to see if that expands at any point.

Everything over here is starting to heat up before the BMW Hong Kong Derby next Sunday, although it obviously isn’t as frenetic or as nerve-wracking as the build up to the Cheltenham Festival everyone is going through back home right now.

I suppose it’s a bit different for the trainers here and you can see them getting on edge a little as they try and get their good horses there in one piece. There are also a few more members of the press around watching the top hopes too.

But for the jockeys, mornings at the track are all very much as it has been since I came out here.

All eyes on Sha Tin again this weekend

The horse that I think’s going to take all the beating in the Derby is Waikuku, who was very impressive when winning a class 2 handicap at Sha Tin at the weekend from a wide draw.

He was trained by John Oxx in Ireland before he came here and has won his last four and was beaten a nose on his other start. I’d be hugely surprised if he didn’t go off favourite for the Derby at least.

I’m excited that I’ve been booked for four rides already on Derby day and I’ll be able to tell you all about them in my blog next week.

There’s no outing for me in the Derby itself although Glorious Dragon might have a little squeak of getting in, but might not be rated highly enough. He’s a nice horse going forward though so watch out for him.

I ride High Five for his trainer Tony Millard, who has been a great supporter of me so far, in the 6f handicap (1.45pm) at Happy Valley on Wednesday. He’s been a consistent horse all season and worked his way up to class 1 level, so I think he could have a nice place chance.

My other ride on Wednesday is Imperial Gallantry in the 1m handicap (1.15pm). I rode him on his last start and he felt like he’d come on for the run.

He’s been quite high in the handicap but he’s come down a little bit and he likes the course, so he’s another solid runner.

Thanks for reading,

Martin