In a period where many of Australia’s top jockeys are returning home after stints overseas, one man is heading in the opposite direction.
Tim Clark has chosen to sacrifice a campaign during the spring carnival to instead try his luck in the racing Mecca of Hong Kong.
He completed his final book of rides yesterday at Canterbury Racecourse, falling just short of leaving on a winner.
Clark has proven himself as one of the more consistent and reliable riders in Australia, something that has been recognised in his Hong Kong deal.
He was first sighted as a genuine emerging talent when he won the 2005/2006 apprentice premiership.
Now 25 years old, Clark will pick up a five month contract with the Hong Kong jockey club.
He would surely count his last season in Australia as a successful one finishing third in the Sydney jockeys premiership, only the superstars of Nash Rawiller and Corey Brown in front of him.
Clark will arrive in Hong Kong next Tuesday and will almost immediately get to work with track rides booked for Thursday.
“I was planning on riding in Sydney for another week or so but on advice from a few people including (HKJC steward) Steve Railton I decided to go a little earlier and just start riding trackwork and getting to meet a few people,” Clark said.
“I’m excited but also a little nervous because I am going to a country I have never been to before. My contract is for five months but I am hoping to make a good impression and see out a full season and from there I will assess where I am.”
This type of attitude is imperative for him to have success in the region which is renowned as being a tough market for even the most experienced rider.
“I’ll be relieved to ride my first winner. I am not setting myself any goals to ride a certain amount – I am just going there to see what I can achieve,” he said.
He will have plenty of Aussie support around him though with three ex-pats already having engrained themselves in the local scene.
Darren Beadman, Zac Purton and Tye Angland have all enjoyed a good deal of success since making the move.
Clark’s contract ensures he won’t be sighted during the Sydney or Melbourne spring carnivals with a return to Australia not coming before the new year.