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Lerena Aims For A Million

Most lucrative jockey's competition in the world - and the most competitive!

SA champion jockey Gavin Lerena will take his place amongst a stellar selection of the world’s finest jockeys who will take to Happy Valley Racecourse’s floodlit arena on Wednesday, 9 December to battle for supremacy and the prime share of HK$800,000 in the 2015 LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship.

Gavin Lerena - generous gesture will win him fans

Gavin Lerena – what a privilege

Eight international stars will compete alongside four of Hong Kong’s elite squad of jockeys in the annual four-race showpiece that rewards the outright champion with a first prize of HK$500,000.(ZAR 917 000 @ current rates)

With HK$200,000 to the runner-up and HK$100,000 to the third-placed rider, the LONGINES IJC is the most lucrative jockeys’ competition in the world, and arguably the most competitive.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has once again assembled a bill-topping cast for this year’s competition. Ryan Moore, the inaugural LONGINES World’s Best Jockey Award recipient, a three-time UK Champion Jockey and the winner of 65 global Group 1 races, will attempt to claim a third triumph at his ninth IJC appearance.

Victor Espinoza

Victor Espinoza

Victor Espinoza returns 12 years after a debut second placing in the 2003 IJC and he does so as an American legend, having partnered the brilliant American Pharoah to a rare U.S. Triple Crown triumph this year. They also landed America’s richest race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, in late October.

Brazilian ace Silvestre De Sousa makes his LONGINES IJC debut fresh from a well-deserved crowning as the U.K.’s Champion Jockey, while the brilliant Gavin Lerena is another first-time champ making his IJC debut, having clinched the South African Champion Jockey title earlier this year.

Hugh Bowman, one of Australia’s finest riders, heads to the IJC for a second time as Sydney’s Champion Jockey, a title he has won three times. Bowman’s predecessor as Sydney champ, the outstanding Kiwi James McDonald, also has three premierships to his name, with two achieved in his native New Zealand sitting alongside that 2013/14 Sydney title.

Japan’s Keita Tosaki was the JRA’s outstanding rider in 2014 and he currently has a strong chance of being crowned champion for a second time this year. The former four-time NAR champion is the third of this year’s three IJC debutants.

Rising Star. Maxim Guyon will be here for the Met!

Maxime Guyon

Completing the exceptional international contingent is Maxime Guyon, one of the world’s finest big occasion riders.

The French star has contested the IJC twice previously and is a popular face in Hong Kong thanks to his Hong Kong Derby win on Ambitious Dragon and last December’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase triumph atop Flintshire.

Mr. William A Nader, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director of Racing, said: “This is an outstanding selection of some of the world’s very best jockeys, which is something we have come to expect at the LONGINES IJC, an occasion well-established as one of world racing’s greatest nights. The LONGINES IJC is quite possibly the most intense and competitive jockeys’ competition anywhere in the world.

This year’s LONGINES IJC will feature four jockeys from Hong Kong’s excellent pool of locally-based talent. The 2012 IJC victor, Joao Moreira, will take his place thanks to his status as Hong Kong’s current Champion Jockey.

With Moreira well clear in this season’s jockey standings, the next two places will go to the riders positioned second and third in the premiership table at the close of the cut-off date, Wednesday, 25 November. The fourth opening will go to Hong Kong’s leading homegrown jockey (a graduate of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Apprentice Jockeys’ School) according to the standings on the above date.

List of invited jockeys for 2015 LONGINES IJC

Representing Country/Region




Hugh Bowman

Three-time champion jockey in Sydney, with 47 G1 wins in his career



Maxime Guyon

Winner of 26 G1 races including five on European champion miler Solow in 2015;  Partnered Flintshire to win last year’s HK Vase


Keita Tosaki

Reigning champion jockey in Japan with over 2300 career wins

New Zealand

James McDonald

Winner of Sydney Premiership in 2013/14; Two-time champion in New Zealand

South Africa

Gavin Lerena

Reigning champion jockey in South Africa;  Two-time South African Derby winner; Held record for most wins in South Africa in a month – 42 in June 2015


Ryan Moore

Three-time British champion jockey with over 2000 career wins, 65 at G1 level;  LONGINES World’s Best Jockey Award winner in 2014; Two-time IJC winner in 2009 and 2010


Silvestre De Sousa

Reigning British champion jockey with 132 wins in 2015; Partnered African Story to win the 2014 Dubai World Cup


Victor Espinoza

Partnered world’s top-rated horse American Pharoah to win the 2015 US Triple Crown, and the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic last month;  First Latino jockey to win the US Triple Crown

Hong Kong

Joao Moreira

Reigning Hong Kong Champion Jockey; IJC winner in 2012

Hong Kong

Highest ranked jockey (1)

As at 26 November

Hong Kong

Highest ranked jockey (2)

As at 26 November

Hong Kong

Leading local jockey

As at 26 November

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4 comments on “Lerena Aims For A Million

  1. Avril says:

    Well done Gavin very proud of you !!

    1. Editor says:

      Hear, hear

  2. Felicia Rowan says:

    Knew he would go far – a true horseman, recognised from his days in Pony Club. He will continue to make SA proud.

  3. Retlaw says:

    Beside the technical adroitness and dexterity, one cannot fail to notice the attitude backed by huge spirituality- respectable, and well deserved. I hold thumbs for Gav to win the biggest possible share of the pot.

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