New hoop for Hong Kong
Local punters, caught up in the buzz of Hong Kong racing, will soon have to consider the merits of a new jockey.
He is Regan Bayliss.
An exciting young talent in Australia, he was recently granted a three-month licence and will commence racing at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The Australian, 21, is sought-after in his homeland and arrives in Hong Kong with more than 350 winners already in the bag, many of them for former Hong Kong handler David Hayes.
Bayliss said during a press conference at Sha Tin yesterday that he did not have to think twice when the Jockey Club's Licensing Committee made an approach last month.
"It wasn't a hard decision at all," the Queensland native said. "As a jockey, I think everyone strives to get here one day.
"It's come up very early in my career but I definitely didn't think about what I could have ridden in Australia or anything like that. I'm here to focus in Hong Kong and I'll be giving it my best shot."
Bayliss has already done morning trackwork at Sha Tin and, on Sunday, will partner trainer John Moore's Beauty Energy and Sea Jade.
"I'm very much looking forward to Sunday," he said.
"I have already spoken to people who have ridden here before. Like Brett Prebble and Damien Oliver. They told me what to expect and I'm ready to give it my best shot in a very competitive environment."
He added: "The top four jockeys here are almost the top four jockeys in the world. Zac Purton holds himself as a great rider anywhere, and Joao Moreira, but it's not just the top four.
"Anyone who has a contract here you hold in high regard. I look up to a lot of people and try to take a little bit from everyone to mould my own style."
Bayliss was born into the racing industry and has been around horses since his infancy.
He already has three Group 1 wins and five Group 2 wins and has also ridden in the UK, the UAE and the USA. - HKJC