12/07/2001 12:00AM

Stevens to hit Hong Kong early


Gary Stevens will be in the Hong Kong spotlight this week at both Happy Valley and Sha Tin as the former British colony gears up for its big International Race Week.

Stevens, who rode in Hong Kong for four months in 1995, will be at Happy Valley Racecourse on Wednesday night as the sole American representative in the International Jockey Championship. Among his rivals will be Frankie Dettori, Olivier Peslier, Michael Kinane, and Yutaka Take.

Stevens will then remain in town to ride the Neil Drysdale-trained dark horse White Heart in the $1.8 million Group 1 Hong Kong Vase at 1 1/2 miles at Sha Tin next Sunday afternoon.

Corey Nakatani will leave for Hong Kong on Tuesday to ride the Christophe Clement-trained Forbidden Apple in the $1.8 million Hong Kong Mile. Morluc and Nuclear Debate complete the American team in the five-furlong $1 million Hong Kong Sprint, in which they ran second and ninth last year.

Godolphin, ever-present at big international racing festivals, will have three runners: China Visit in the Mile, Ekraar in the Vase, and Tobougg in the featured Hong Kong Cup.

The $2.3 million Cup has big race written all over it, with Jim and Tonic, Silvano, Agnes Digital, Choc Ice and Bach all in the lineup.