LEADING young South African jockeys Callan Murray and Grant van Niekerk have been granted part-licences to ride in Hong Kong from 16 July 2018 to 17 February 2019 and both will be taking up the new challenge.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club this morning published renewals of licences and new licences for trainers and jockeys and South Africans David Ferraris and Tony Millard (trainers), Karis Teetan and Douglas Whyte (jockeys) were granted full licences.
The stylish Murray, who rode two Gr3 winners during a short spell in Hong Kong last year, commented: “I am very excited about being given this opportunity as I enjoyed myself there in my introductory spell. I will be riding for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which in reality means freelancing, and won’t be restricted to any of the stables.
“During my first stint I rode for everyone and had two winners for Tony Millard. I will be preparing to go to Hong Kong as soon as I can because I hear one has a better chance of success if you get there for the start of the season. We all know it’s a very tough jurisdiction to break into, but I am grateful and will do the best I can.”
Van Niekerk broke the news to Drakenstein Stud’s Kevin Sommerville this morning and he said: “To ride in Hong Kong has been my ambition for a long time and Mrs Gaynor Rupert and her team are supportive of my decision. I will be discussing it with Justin Snaith today. I am sad to be leaving but this is a dream come true and I have to grasp it.”
Van Niekerk, a forceful and fearless rider, added: “I know this will be like starting from the bottom up and will require hard work, but I’ll be praying for a bit of luck, it can be done. The news has just reached me, it feels surreal but I am very excited about it.”
-Headline photo: Grant van Niekerk and the Drakenstein team with Oh Susanna.