Irish jockey Neil Callan achieved a notable milestone in his race riding career on Wednesday when riding his 200th winner in Hong Kong.
Callan took the Connaught Handicap for trainer David Ferraris aboard Sangria, the second win of a double for the Irishman following the earlier success of All Best Friends in the Ice House Handicap.
Having reached the double-century milestone, a delighted Callan said: “It’s always nice to reach a milestone in Hong Kong. It’s not really something I look at doing; I just like to get my head down, try my best and win as many races as I can.
“Considering the amount of English and Irish jockeys that had been here ten years before me, they all went home early. So for me to come and persevere and keep fighting as they say, it bodes well for me.”
The 2017 Centenary Sprint Cup winning jockey is in his fourth full season in Hong Kong and finished the last campaign third in the premiership, but had just two wins from his first 68 rides in the 2017-18 season.
“I started off really slow this season, it’s a bit frustrating. I’ve been here long enough to know that Hong Kong doesn’t owe you any favours, it’s a competitive environment and every day, every season is a new one, so you go have to prove yourself every time you go out.
Sangria, just one of two Spanish-breds currently racing in Hong Kong, earned his first win in 14 Hong Kong starts. “He is a lovely little horse and had good form over sprints in France,” Ferraris said of the gelding, “but he can stay and will win plenty of races here.”
Racing resumes at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday with a ten-race programme, headlined by the HK$10 million Hong Kong Classic Mile.