Bowman shows just why he’s the world’s No. 2 rider

Champion: Hugh Bowman with the trophy after winning the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Photo: Hong Kong Jockey Club

They may operate mainly on opposite sides of the world, but Ryan Moore and Hugh Bowman are developing quite a rivalry. And it was much in evidence on Wednesday night at the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship (LIJC) at Happy Valley in Hong Kong.

The event is the most prestigious individual jockey challenge in the world, and it drew a field worthy of that status, with six of the top 10 riders in the TRC Global Rankings among the 12 taking part in the four-race series.

Of course, the overall outcomes of contests such as these are very much down to the luck of the draw (for who rides which horses), but fittingly Wednesday’s was all about the men who are currently the top two jockeys in the world.

Englishman Moore has had a stellar season riding for Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore, and is well ahead in the TRC jockeys’ standings, but Aussie Bowman, aided and abetted by the majestic Winx, hasn’t been doing badly either and has forged a clear berth in second spot recently.

The Happy Valley competition does not count towards the rankings as it has no group races, but Bowman used the opportunity to show just why he’s flying so high right now. He notched one win and a second, which was too good for Moore’s one win and a dead-heat for third.

But it could so easily have gone the other way. It all hinged on the final race, and a photo finish for third. Moore lost out by a short head when third place would have tied him with Bowman.

Where the LIJC riders stand in the TRC Global Rankings

World rank

Name

Modal Country

TRC points

LIJC position

1

Ryan Moore

GB

1087

2   (14pts)

2

Hugh Bowman

Australia

1059

1   (18pts)

7

Mirco Demuro

Japan

1025

3 = (12pts)

8

Florent Geroux

US

1017

6   (8pts)

9

Pat Smullen

Ireland

1010

8 = (4pts)

10

Joao Moreira

Australia

1009

8 = (4pts)

14

Keita Tosaki

Japan

999

3 = (12pts)

40

Zac Purton

Australia

966

7   (6pts)

45

Mickael Barzalona

France

962

-

77

Douglas Whyte

Hong Kong

936

5   (10pts)

361

Gavin Lerena

South Africa

884

-

-

K C Leung

Hong Kong

-

-

The four races were each worth 12pts for a win, 6 for 2nd and 4 for 3rd. Bowman, Moore, Demuro and Tosaki rode the winners.

“It’s exciting – it’s great to get one over Ryan because he’s pretty hard to beat at any time,” Bowman told the South China Morning Post.

A good season down under beckons for the Australian, with the potential to make major inroads into Moore’s lead at the top of the rankings.

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