Kerrin McEvoy has bested some of the leading jockeys in the world to take out the Hong Kong International Jockeys’ Championship and the cash prize of HK$500,000 at Happy Valley last night.
McEvoy was considered one of the outsiders to take out the crown, after he drew poorly at the horse allocation earlier in the week, but he got his competition off to a perfect start in the opening race when he partnered Home With Glory to victory.
Home With Glory was a longshot but McEvoy produced a gem of a ride; taking the Captain Rio gelding straight to the front of the field and rated him perfectly to hold off Suguru Hamanaka on Winning Mascot and Ryan Moore on Redwood Bay.
McEvoy was in an excellent position after the first race and he consolidated his lead by finishing second on Expectator in the second race; with Christophe Soumillion taking out the race with another impressive front running ride on Flying Chaparral.
The leading Australian jockey was unable to add to his points tally in the third race, which was taken out by Mirco Demuro on Caspar-Fownes trained Fun ‘N’ Games, but still took a handy lead of six points into the final race of the series.
Soumillion and Demuro were the only riders that could catch McEvoy and he secured the title when they both missed the placings in the final race that was taken out by fellow Australian Zac Purton on the favourite Majestic Anthem.
McEvoy was delighted just to have the opportunity to compete in the Hong Kong International Jockeys’ Championship and said that riding against some of the greatest jockeys in the world was one of the biggest thrills of his stellar career.
“I’m very delighted to have won this event, it’s a great competition,” McEvoy said after the event.
“There are some great names on this trophy, and to have my name on it too is a great thrill.
“It’s been a fantastic experience riding with such greats as Gary Stevens and Mike Smith, and I’m grateful to the Hong Kong Jockey Club for inviting me here, and I hope I can come again.”
“I was on an outsider in the first leg, but he got a cheap lead and had enough kick to hold on.
“In the second I drew a nice gate, and was able to save energy for the final furlongs and getting points was a bonus.
“I last rode at Happy Valley in 2004, but never rode a winner, so it was nice to put that right tonight.”
Zac Purton capped off a stellar night for Australia by finishing second on six points, while Christophe Soumillion finished in third place over Mirco Demuro on countback.
McEvoy will not have long to savor his victory; with the leading jockey picking up seven rides at Randwick on Saturday.