With three wins in Britain already under his belt, Hong Kong jockey Vincent Ho Chak-Yiu heads into Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot full of confidence.
The top local jockey has been in the UK for three weeks preparing for this year’s event – which pits four teams of riders against each other – and he has already tasted success with two victories for Mark Johnston and one for Keith Dalgleish, all in Scotland.
Ho will represent the Rest Of The World team alongside Japan’s Yuga Kawada and Australia’s Mark Zahra, taking on Great Britain and Ireland, Europe and an all-female side across six races.
The 29-year-old is enjoying a second stint with Johnston, Britain’s winning-most trainer and has been riding out for the Yorkshire-based handler daily after a career-best season in Hong Kong where he finished fourth in the jockeys’ championship with 56 winners.
While Ho has been to Ascot before, this will be the first time he rides there.
“I came to Ascot to watch Enable win the King George in 2017. In Hong Kong, we always have Royal Ascot on live. I have watched a lot of racing at Ascot and I will walk the track on Saturday morning to get to know it,” he said.
“Riding over here for the last two-and-a-half weeks has definitely helped me. However, I would not say that it gives me an advantage over the other jockeys riding in the competition. They are all top jockeys and they will adapt to the track. I have at least got to know what most UK horses are like.
“The Shergar Cup is probably going to be the only event I have ever ridden in where it is not about yourself. You have teammates and sometimes you can help out your teammates.
“The Shergar Cup has a very long history and you get to ride against all the top jockeys in the world. It is a special event and it’s great to have all the different teams as well.”
Even though Ho had such a great season at home, he refuses to rest on his laurels and wants to take his riding to another level.
“I have come to Britain hoping to learn more and to therefore come back to Hong Kong stronger and more knowledgeable,” he said.
“I would love to win an international Group One. I have ridden Group Three winners and they are my biggest victories to date, but my target is to record a Group One winner.
“Horses here are trained differently and the emphasis is on stamina. The riding style here is also very different. In Hong Kong, it is all about being quick out of the gates and getting a good position early on. It is a little bit different here where you have more time to settle the horse, but it is a great learning experience.
“Mark Johnston has been very good to me. I have learned a lot in terms of the training of horses and why his horses are so tough. When I ride in races for Mark, he always gives the jockey the confidence to decide what to do in races. I will stay in Britain for a little bit longer after the Shergar Cup and I will continue to be based in Middleham with Mark.”