12/06/2010 12:57PM

Leparoux taking on world's best in International Jockeys' Championship

Email
Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Julien Leparoux will represent the United States on Wednesday in the Cathay Pacific International Jockeys’ Championship.

Julien Leparoux makes his Hong Kong debut Wednesday night in the hothouse atmosphere of Happy Valley Racecourse in the heart of the bustling island city where he will represent the United States in the Cathay Pacific International Jockeys’ Championship. Leparoux will be one of three French-born riders in the four-race competition, joining compatriots Olivier Peslier and Christophe Lemaire as well as big-name jockeys from around the world like Johnny Murtagh, Ryan Moore and perennial Hong Kong champion Doug Whyte.

Leparoux will have his work cut out for him as his mounts have drawn wide in the first three races in the series on a tight, one-mile turf course with three separate turns connecting three short straights.

In the first leg , a one-mile and 55-yard handicap, lightweight Century Molly returns to Happy Valley after a pair of improved efforts at more spacious Sha Tin, but he has drawn widest of all in post 12 in the 12-horse field. Leparoux’s ride in the second leg over the same distance is longshot Oasis Davis who breaks from post 9. In the third leg, he has drawn Travel Guide, a Happy Valley specialist who breaks from post 10 and is dropping in class after a couple of dull efforts against better at Sha Tin.

In the finale, a 1 1/8-mile handicap, Leparoux will break from the rail aboard Mirage R, who was seventh in his Hong Kong debut at Sha Tin three weeks ago.

Winchester arrives for Hong Kong Vase

Twenty-four Group or Grade 1 winners form Britain, Ireland, France, Australia, Japan, America, and Hong Kong are in Hong Kong preparing for the four big races on Hong Kong International Raceday at Sha Tin on Sunday. Among them are the Christophe Clement-trained Joe Hirsch Turf Classic winner Winchester. The 5-year-old son of Theatrical, who arrived at Sha Tin on Sunday, will face seven other Group or Grade 1 winners in the $1.8 million, 1 1/2-mile Hong Kong Vase. He was scheduled to gallop on the Sha Tin all-weather track inside the turf course on Tuesday.

The seven big race winners Winchester will run into on Sunday are Americain, the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained winner of the two-mile Melbourne Handicap; seven-time Hong Kong Group 1 winner Viva Pataca; plus Jaguar Mail, Jakkalberry, Mastery, and Canadian Grade 1 winners Joshua Tree and Redwood. William Hill rates Winchester their 12-1 seventh choice in the Vase. Their favorite at 4-1 is American, with Jaguar Mail 11-2.