Getting-to-know-you session with our jockey Sam went very well
In the fifth part of a diary leading up to the Hong Kong International races on Sunday, Christina Dunlop gives an update on husband Harry’s stable star Robin Of Navan.
Team GB were treated to a cocktail party in the heart of Hong Kong nightlife. This had been kindly organised by Great British Racing International, led by Minty Farquhar, to thank all those who’d travelled their horses to Hong Kong.
GBRI do a great job promoting British-bred horses and their achievements to the rest of the world, also persuading foreign buyers to come to England to buy British-bred horses to race in their own countries.
After cocktails it was on to dinner with Stephen Wallis at the China Club, where we were served some of the best Cantonese cuisine I’ve ever eaten surrounded by amazing art collected by the late David Tang.
This morning Robin of Navan met his race-day jockey, a young Australian called Sam Clipperton. Sam has been in Hong Kong for the last two seasons and was attached to champion local trainer John Moore before going freelance this year with much success. He knows the track well and also the other local jockeys and horses.
Harry did some in deep research and all reports were positive. Sam appears to have a good brain as well as the ability to ride well. His first winner was in 2010 and since then he has won five Group 2 races for Godolphin in Australia and he's also won at Group 1 level. He won the Sydney apprenticeship twice in Australia, the first to have done that for 25 years.
Colm Hynes rode the horse for ten minutes just to make sure we were happy with him before swapping over with Sam. They had a walk and trot in the sand arena located within the quarantine barn before doing a steady canter round the course, and both horse and jockey went well.
After pulling up and turning to walk back Robin saw the camera men and started playing up, dancing around and basically showing off. None of this fazed Sam, so it is now up to Colm and myself to get Robin in the best possible condition to the parade ring on Sunday and hand over to Sam.
The good news is that Sam has seven rides on the card, including two other International race rides prior to the Cup.
Now for a trip to Stanley to see the market with a quick turnaround into a cocktail dress before a taxi ride, via the stables, to attend the Hong Kong Jockey Club gala dinner back on Hong Kong Island.
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