Groundbreaker Hollie Doyle to make second start in Hong Kong International Jockeys’ Championship

Horse Racing Hollie Doyle graphic
Hollie Doyle: returning to Hong Kong where she became the first woman to win a IJC race. Graphic: Great British Racing

By Jon Lees

Hong Kong: Hollie Doyle, who became the first female jockey to ride a winner at the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship (IJC) last year, is among a stellar line-up of names set to compete in this year’s event.

Doyle, who secured joint third place in the contest won by Zac Purton 12 months ago, will represent Britain alongside her boyfriend Tom Marquand for the second time at Happy Valley on December 8.

The 25-year-old rider has completed another record-setting season in Britain where she broke her own record for most wins by a female jockey in a calendar year when she rode her 152nd winner last month.

Melbourne Cup-winning jockey James McDonald and Breeders’ Cup winner Yuga Kawada are also among the riders who will compete alongside previous winners of the jockey challenge crown, Purton, reigning Hong Kong champion jockey Joao Moreira and Ryan Moore.

The HK$800,000 (£76,000) IJC is a four-race competition for 12 elite jockeys, and this year’s edition on December 8 features eight overseas riders and four based in Hong Kong, all battling for the HK$500,000 (£47,000) first prize.

Moore will be making his 15th appearance, while McDonald joins the star-studded list, having broken the record for the most wins in a Melbourne Cup Carnival week, securing 10 victories and four G1s including the Melbourne Cup on Verry Elleegant.

Kawada arrives in Hong Kong at the end of a year highlighted by his historic win with Loves Only You – the first Japanese-trained runner to score a Breeders’ Cup triumph, claiming the G1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar earlier this month. 

Australian Damian Lane and South African champion Lyle Hewiston will join the contest for the first time while Mickael Barzalona will represent France.

The final two spots on the 12-rider roster will go to the highest-ranked rider in the Hong Kong championship standings, as well as the leading homegrown rider.

Andrew Harding, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director, Racing, said: “This year’s Longines IJC has all the ingredients to provide another memorable edition. 

“We have a fantastic line-up of accomplished riders, many of whom are in career-best form, including Yuga Kawada and James McDonald. Added to that is the return of Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle who are competing for the second time and will again add great excitement to what is always a thrilling contest.”  

• Visit the Hong Kong Jockey Club website

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