Marquand, de Sousa joint-IJC winners
Duo snare a win and a fourth in keenly contested four-race international series
HONG KONG Silvestre de Sousa and Tom Marquand shared the spoils at the end of one of the tightest Longines International Jockeys’ Championships in the IJC’s rich history on Wednesday night.
In front of a loud and passionate Happy Valley crowd of about 11,000, each of the four legs went to a different jockey, with none among de Sousa, Marquand, Vincent Ho and Derek Leung able to add a scoring place that would have separated them from the pack.
The joint-champions were named on countback, with de Sousa and Marquand sharing HK$700,000 (S$122,000) on their fourth placing earlier, though at the half-way stage neither had scored.
Marquand took the third leg in Race 7 aboard the Tony Cruz-trained Winning Dragon.
The 24-year-old Briton finished fourth on Juneau Flash in the opening leg in Race 4, won by Ho on the Jamie Richards-trained Handsome Rebel.
De Sousa’s victory came in the final leg in Race 8 on the Frankie Lor-trained Adios.
The Brazil-born English champion was fourth on Star Contact in the second leg in Race 5, won by Leung on the Francis Lui-trained Win Win Fighter.
Marquand was fifth on Spicy Grill.
“To finish joint-top with Silvestre is pretty epic,” said Marquand, who was tied for second behind Zac Purton in 2021.
“He’s been champion jockey back home, he works so hard and is someone you look up to in the weighing room.
“It’s a huge honour and sometimes you have to pinch yourself that these things are happening.”
Marquand was also delighted to see the rapturous atmosphere back in one of the world’s top racing hubs.
“For the last couple of years, we couldn’t help but walk away feeling we probably got half the experience without crowds,” he said.
“But it’s an unbelievable achievement from the Hong Kong Jockey Club to have kept it going and it’s wonderful to have the crowds back and get the full IJC experience.”
De Sousa, who booted home his first Singapore winner (Legacy Fortune) when he came to ride Fame Star in the Group 1 Lion City Cup on Aug 14, won the IJC in 2018.
“I never say die and I was just thrilled to win for Frankie because he has supported me here since Day One,” said the 41-year-old.
“I thought Adios in the final leg was my best chance and he has come out and proved that.
“I’m just delighted. It’s my second time winning and I finished placed another time.
“In the last leg, I just felt the crowd and, although it was a long last half furlong, thank God, he got his head down and we gave it everything.”
While Marquand had it relatively easier with a 3/4-length victory, de Sousa had to extract every ounce from his 2-1 favourite mount to fend off the late charge of Red Lion by a short head.
Such was the finely balanced nature of this IJC that Jamie Kah would have snared the crown had Red Lion got there in the dying strides.
The Australian lass, who rode in the $1 million Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup on Nov 19 and finished unplaced on Sacred Croix, had a third on Free Foal in the second leg of the challenge.
In the end, that razor-thin margin left Kah in fifth, with Ho and Leung sharing the HK$100,000 cheque for third place.
Leung was a late substitution for the Covid-19-positive Mickael Barzalona.
The others who rode in the IJC were Purton, Hugh Bowman, Matthew Chadwick, Lyle Hewitson, James McDonald, Ryan Moore and Hollie Doyle.
Lor secured the HK$200,000 bonus as the leading trainer across the four legs, edging out Cruz and Lui, thanks to Adios’ triumph. - HKJC