Martin Harley’s Hong Kong diary: “I’m excited to kick on in the next few months.”
Top jockey shares his exclusive insights from Hong Kong
I’ve had an incredible time since I came out to Hong Kong at the start of February and have really enjoyed giving you some insight into what the racing and the culture is like out here, as well as pinpointing a few horses to keep an eye on too.
So I’m delighted to be able to exclusively tell you that I’ve had my initial three-month contract to ride in Hong Kong extended by another couple of months until the end of the season in July.
It’s really exciting and I hope I can kick on over the next three months having laid some solid foundations and networks during my time so far.
It was a completely new experience for me to come out here and the first two or three months are all about working hard and networking to meet owners and trainers.
There are no jockey agents in Hong Kong so to get the rides you have to put yourself about and get the owners and trainer to trust you on their horses and to like you.
I’m much better known now then I was when I arrived and I think that’s really going to help me a lot. I’ve found a few nice horses to ride, who I’ve highlighted as we’ve gone along, and all it takes is for one of those to really click and you’re away.
As I’ve said right from the start, one of the big reasons for me coming out here is to learn and to become a better jockey. Something they are hot on over here is interference in races and I have had to be quick to pick up on that.
I finished third on a nice horse called Silver Fig at Sha Tin on Sunday and I was a bit unlucky, but I didn’t want to barge my way out to make my challenge; I had to wait for the right moment.
It’s massively important to adapt your race riding and to be aware of what you are doing in races.
For example, if I’d have forced myself out in that race I’d have had a knock-on effect on the horse which came second and got myself in trouble, which would have no good for anyone.
You have to be extra careful over here otherwise you’ll end up with a suspension straight away. They are strict – there’s no two ways about it – but you know where you stand and that’s fine by me.
To be honest, I think that’s the way I feel it should be in Britain too and if it was our races would be a lot cleaner.
I’ve got a couple of rides at Happy Valley on Wednesday and both would have little each-way chances. I should be a lot busier at Sha Tin on Sunday and I could have some nice ones in amongst them, so keep an eye on those runners.
Thanks for reading,