12/07/2009 1:00AM

Talamo in test vs. international talent


Nineteen-year-old Joe Talamo takes on some of the world's best jockeys at Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong on Wednesday night, when he will be the lone American in the Cathay Pacific International Jockeys' Championship. The three-race contest around the tight turns of Happy Valley offers a stern riding test in which early placement and the ability to maneuver in traffic are paramount.

Talamo, who will be riding Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner California Flag in the $1.5 million Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin on Sunday, will be up against Ireland's Johnny Murtagh, the number one rider for Coolmore; Britain's Ryan Moore, Michael Stoute's rider of first choice; and Christophe Lemaire, the Aga Khan's number one rider in France who is fresh from a Japan Cup victory last week aboard Vodka. Chantal Sutherland will represent Canada.

In Brilliant One, Talamo has drawn the second-highest rated horse in a one-mile, 55-yard handicap in which Sutherland will ride longshot Ho Wongchoy. In the second leg, a 1 1/8-mile handicap, Talamo is on the consistent Fortune Warrior while Sutherland partners class dropdown Zephyrus. The final leg, a one-mile, 55-yard handicap, has Talamo aboard the Tony Cruz-trained Super Genki and Sutherland on the John Moore-trained Champion Lad, both of which are considered to possess a chance of victory.