The best show jumping riders including current FEI World Number 2 Simon Delestre were wowed by the bright lights and unique atmosphere of Happy Valley racecourse tonight.
Fresh from jetting in from Europe Delestre was joined by fellow Longines Masters of Hong Kong competitors Bertram Allen, Marco Kutscher and local rider Jacqueline Lai for an exclusive tour of Happy Valley.
Back in her home city for the Longines Masters of Hong Kong, Lai and HKJC jockey Derek Leung will be competing as the Hong Kong Dynamic Duo in the HKJC Race of the Riders and will be sure to gather lots of crowd support.
It was the first time Kutscher, winner of the Longines Grand Prix of Los Angeles, and Allen winner of the Longines Speed Challenge in Los Angeles, had ever been to the famous racetrack and both riders were in complete awe of the venue.
"I have never seen anything like this before. It is so amazing how it is right beneath all of the big buildings», said Kutscher.
Local jockey Neil Callan, who will compete in the HKJC Race of the Riders for the second year, took the show jumping riders on a tour of the jockeys¹ room and weigh-in area as well as the mounting yard. He also explained various facets of his sport and life as a jockey in Hong Kong.
"It was so good to learn a bit more about racing from Neil », said Kutscher.
Kutscher will team up with leading jockey Joao Moreira in the HKJC Race of the Riders and they will form the Magic team. Moreira is a superstar in Hong Kong and currently holds a record lead on the HKJC jockeys¹ premiership. Like Callan, he competed in the inaugural HKJC Race of the Riders last year and performed very well in the event finishing in second placing.
French rider Simon Delestre will pair with last year¹s winning jockey Vincent Ho to form the Speed Masters.
"I think it is a great fun event and I hope Vincent can ride as well a he did in this last year", said Delestre.
Tonight¹s Happy Valley Racecourse tour leader Neil Callan will ride with fellow Irishman Bertram Allen in the HKJC Race of the Riders to form the Irish Flames team. Callan is hoping that he has much better luck this year after his mount put in a refusal last year.
His team mate Bertram Allen enjoyed his first visit to Happy Valley tonight and is looking forward to riding with Callan a jockey he recalls watching in action back home.
“We have a lot of racing in Ireland so I know of Neil well and I feel honoured to have him as my partner,” said Allen.
The 2016 HKJC Race of the Riders will take place this Friday night at the Longines Masters of Hong Kong at AsiaWorld-Expo at 9:15pm.