By Jon Lees
Hong Kong: Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand will end a stellar 2020 by competing together on an international stage after being invited to contest Hong Kong’s International Jockeys’ Championship (IJC).
The pair, rivals on the racetrack but partners off it, will take part in the annual Longines-sponsored December 9 event at Happy Valley in a line-up that also includes Ryan Moore, William Buick, Pierre-Charles Boudot, Mickael Barzalona and Hong Kong champions Zac Purton and Joao Moreira.
Doyle, 24, and Marquand, 22, both broke their G1 maidens this year and rode their first Royal Ascot winners. Marquand also claimed his first Classic success while Doyle broke her own record for the most wins in a year by a female jockey.
The IJC is a four-race competition for 12 elite jockeys, involving six overseas riders and six based in Hong Kong, all battling for the HK$500,000 (£48,000) top prize, the most lucrative jockeys’ challenge winner’s cheque in the world.
Visiting riders will undergo multiple COVID-19 tests before travelling to Hong Kong and on arrival head into designated accommodation under strict quarantine to ensure no contact with the community.
They will also be under continuous medical surveillance by the Club’s Chief Medical Officer – including daily COVID-19 tests and twice daily temperature checks – and on IJC night at Happy Valley, the visiting riders will occupy a separate jockeys’ rooms away from Hong Kong-based riders.
Andrew Harding, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s executive director of racing, said: “The Hong Kong Jockey Club has succeeded again in putting together an outstanding cast of riders and we are looking forward to a great night of sport set against the backdrop of one of the most iconic racecourses in the world.”
“We are so pleased that, with strict protocols in place, the event can be a truly international occasion. The prize-money increases, which make this year’s edition the richest yet, further reinforcing the prestige associated with the event.”
• Find out more about the Longines HKIR at the HKJC website