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2009 Cathay Pacific International Jockeys' Championship


John Murtagh, Ryan Moore, and Christophe Lemaire celebrate with the trophy

Co-winners John Murtagh, Ryan Moore, and Christophe Lemaire celebrate after the 2009 Cathay Pacific International Jockey Championship

© Vanessa Ng
Updated December 10, 2009

A rare 3-way tie for the win occurred on Wednesday night at the Cathay Pacific International Jockeys' Championship at Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong. Given the point structure -- 12 for win, 6 for second, 4 for third -- this occurred when three different jockeys won each of the three races but failed to finish in the money in the other two. As a result, Christophe Lemaire of France, John Murtagh of Ireland, and Ryan Moore of England shared the HK$300,000 total purse. Matthew Chadwick, who had a 2nd and a 3rd place finish, was fourth with 10 points.

The North American contingent, both also known for their appearance in the Animal Planet documentary "Jockeys", did not do well at all, each failing to finish in the money in any race and thus earning no points. American Joe Talamo, who will ride California Flag in the Hong Kong Sprint on Sunday, finished 12th in the first leg, 10th in the second, and 4th in the third, while Canadian Chantal Sutherland was 7th in the first, 12th in the second, and 5th in the third. This was probably disappointing to the organizers as they had promoted her appearance heavily including running a contest for fans to come up with a Chinese name for her. Defending champion and locally based Douglas Whyte, the only 3-time winner of the contest, uncharacteristically scored zero points.

In the first leg, Lemaire, aboard 4-1 shot Bobo Win, raced in midpack the whole way in the 1650 meter (about 1 mile) race, came out at the 1/4 pole to pass tiring horses to get the win by 1 3/4 lengths over Perfect Ten and jockey Howard Cheng. William Buick aboard Fujian Prince finished third. Lemaire, who will not be able to ride on Sunday in the International Races as he will be serving a suspension handed down by the Tokyo stewards last weekend, said, "Winning here is much appreciated after my misfortunes of last weekend in Japan. There is a special atmosphere at Happy Valley and I really enjoy riding here. It was a great thrill to share it with Johnny and Ryan."

In the second leg, Murtagh, riding 3-1 Master Dreamer, saved ground on the rail close to the pace in the 1800 meter (about 1 1/8 mile) event, then came through between horses at the 1/8 pole to win going away by 1 1/2 lengths over Matthew Chadwick aboard Jolly Wongchoy and Hugh Bowman aboard Olympicship. Murtagh said, "This three-way tie is a great result! I tried my utmost to get a place in the last but just couldn't. The handicapper has done a very good job (with the weight assignments), and made this event very competitive."

In the third and final leg of the competition, Moore kept 40-1 longshot Ming's Hero well back early, and then closed with a rush down the center of the course to nail Moon Chaser and jockey Andreas Suborics by a nose in the 1650 meter race. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to Matthew Chadwick riding Lasker in third. Moore said, "It was nice to win here. Happy Valley hasn't been lucky for me in the past but I was riding lucky number 8!  I am only sorry that I couldn't have laid up closer on my mounts in the first two legs."

After fourth place finisher Chadwick with 10 points, Howard Cheng and Andreas Suborics tied with 6, followed by Hugh Bowman and William Buick with 4 each. Yasunari Iwata joined Talamo, Sutherland, and Whyte with no points.

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