Ireland’s Colin Keane has finished second to Silvestre de Sousa in the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Keane got his Hong Kong debut off to a flying start in the first leg when making his first ever ride at Happy Valley a winning one on the John Size-trained Special Stars. Drawn widest of all in stall 12, Keane broke alertly to take up a position in mid-division, tracking the leaders before launching his challenge off the home turn. Special Stars responded to his encouragement to run down the leaders in the home straight and won a shade cosily by a length and a quarter from de Sousa’s mount Midnight Rattler.
De Sousa struck in the second leg, with stall 12 again proving no handicap, as he broke Jimmy Ting’s Glory Star from widest of all to take a lead that he was never to surrender. US star Javier Castellano threw down a challenge on Good For You, but Glory Star had too much in reserve and held on for a convincing win.
Keane picked up more points for third on Tony Millard’s C P Power, so at the end of leg two de Sousa led on 18 points, with Keane second on 16, and Castellano third on six.
Vincent Ho got his name on the scoresheet in the third leg, when getting up close home on Manfred Man’s Little Island, running down long time leader Curling Luxury and Castellano. De Sousa could only manage third aboard favourite All You Know, but the four points earned increased his lead over Keane to six with one leg to go.
It was all to play for between the four leaders going into the last leg, with de Sousa on 22 points, Keane on 16 and Ho tied with Castellano on 12, thanks to two second place finishes.
Brazilian-born British representative de Sousa took the championship in emphatic style on John Moore’s Experto Crede when dashing through on the rail to win, and with none of his nearest rivals scoring points, de Sousa finished clear on 34 points with two wins and a second and third in the four legs.
Keane was runner-up on 16, while Ho shaded Castellano for third.
Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong will host top quality international action on Sunday with the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races featuring four world-class Group 1 contests among a 10-race card.