Top French jockey stood down from HK meet
Star jockey Christophe Soumillon has been stood down from riding at the Hong Kong International meeting and is required to undergo further testing for COVID-19.
The Frenchman has been in quarantine since his arrival in Hong Kong on November 26 but he advised the Jockey Club that the Department of Health had delayed his release.
While his initial results for the virus were clear, Soumillon has been requested to undertake additional testing.
It is unclear when he will be permitted to leave quarantine, prompting Hong Kong stewards to stand him down from his riding engagements on Sunday.
Soumillon has been replaced on his nine rides at Sha Tin with fellow Frenchman Alexis Badel picking up the mount on Computer Patch, who takes on Australian Classique Legend in the Hong Kong Sprint.
The Everest winner will have his first start for new trainer Caspar Fownes in the Group One race and Fownes believes the horse has turned the corner after taking time to acclimatise.
“He’s starting to wake up and he’s starting to come at the right time,” Fownes told the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Classique Legend will have to defy history by becoming the first horse to win the Sprint from barrier one.
Fownes was not rapt with the draw but hopes the five-year-old is good enough to overcome it.
“He’s a horse that needs a bit of room. Anyway, it is what it is. Most people won’t complain about draw one,” Fownes said.
“He’ll be ridden to get his chance and we’ll see what happens.”