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Martin Harley’s Hong Kong Diary: Waikiki could be one to keep an eye on

Top jockey shares his exclusive insights from Hong Kong

If you watched the Hong Kong Derby at Sha Tin on Sunday morning then you were treated to a masterclass in race riding by Hugh Bowman, who won the race on Furore.

Hugh, who’ll you know best as the guy who has ridden Winx to all of her big wins in Australia, was drawn wide on Furore but managed to get out and into a lovely position just behind in the leaders in a race where they went no gallop until the last half mile.

Because of how he’d ridden the race, Hugh was able to make the most of the racing position he’d gotten himself into and that played a massive part in how the race panned out. In fact, it almost certainly made the difference as favourite Waikuku had to make up loads of ground in the straight and ran out of time, so Hugh’s ride probably made the difference between winning and losing in the end.

It was a big moment for Furore’s trainer Frankie Lor too. He’s only into his second season with a licence but he’s already trained over a 100 winners, won the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup and Sprint at the International meeting in December and now has a Hong Kong Derby winner too.

I’ve met Frankie at trackwork a couple of times and ridden a few for him at trackwork too. I’ve not had the chance to ride in a race for him and it’d be brilliant to get the chance before I leave.

He’s a very intelligent guy and worked alongside top trainers John Moore and John Size before starting on his own, so he’s a proper horseman and definitely the rising star over here.

It’s also worth mentioning the performance of Waikuku. He was strong favourite to win the race but got a killer draw in stall 14 so he had to sit at the back, which was not the best place to be. He was definitely a bit unlucky with the way the race panned out and I’d still say he’s one to keep an eye on in big races over here in the future. He’s got a lot of talent.

I was busy on Sunday with a lot of rides and it was good to be sharing the weighing room with some familiar faces with Ryan Moore and Oisin Murphy flying in to ride at Sha Tin.

Ryan rode a double and my horses ran well on the whole. We’ll make a couple of tweaks and changes and I’d like to think they’d all be well capable of winning before I leave Hong Kong.

I’ve got three rides at Happy Valley on Wednesday and seven at Sha Tin on Saturday, so I hope there will be some decent each-way and placed hopes in amongst them.

Probably my best chance of a good run on Wednesday is Megatron in the opening race, the 1m handicap (11.15am), although he’s not drawn great in stall ten.

Thanks for reading,
Martin