Boudot excited for ‘ultimate challenge’ of Hong Kong racing
The latest rider to temporarily join Hong Kong’s jockey ranks, Pierre-Charles Boudot, met local media during a press conference at Sha Tin racecourse on Tuesday.
Boudot began his short-term contract at Sha Tin’s Lucky Start Raceday on Monday (1 January) with four rides, including two third placings. The Frenchman also participated in the LONGINES International Jockeys Championship at Happy Valley last month, winning the final leg aboard the John Size-trained Bank On Red, and he believes that win may prove crucial during his two-month stint.
“I was very proud to represent France in what I consider to be the world’s best jockey championship,” Boudot, speaking in French, said through an interpreter. “Of course, knowing that I was going to be riding here in January and February, my wish was to ride one winner and I achieved that target. It was a very important win for me, I think.
“My first day at Sha Tin went well, the two horses I placed on ran nicely and hopefully it is the start of a good period.”
Boudot, 25, began his career in 2009, apprenticed to Andre Fabre. The eight-time G1-winning rider teamed with France’s inimitable champion trainer at Sha Tin for the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races in both 2015 and 2016, and competed at his third HKIR in 2017.
Pierre-Charles Boudot, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
His initial international foray came in 2014 when he spent two months in Japan with trainer Yasutoshi Ikee and, based on that experience, he is excited for what lies ahead.
“It’s already a success for me, just to be invited to Hong Kong. I am very grateful for the opportunity,” he said. “I know that it is going to be a very good experience, just like it was in Japan. Of course, I will try to be as successful as possible, but I want to enjoy this time and hope to make the trainers and owners as happy as I can with my riding. I only wish I could be here for longer.”
Boudot’s best campaign came in 2016, when he won the Cravache d’Or – the Golden Whip – as France’s Champion Jockey for the second consecutive season, having tied with Christophe Soumillon for the title a year earlier. He became the first rider ever to record 300 European victories in a year in 2016, a figure that was topped by Soumillon in 2017 with 306 wins.
While riding in Hong Kong puts an end to any ambitions to topple Soumillon’s record in 2018, Boudot believes that the experience he will gain from his time in Hong Kong will ultimately benefit his career long-term.
“Records are made to be broken, and I will always be the first to have achieved the 300 wins,” Boudot said. “You always want what you haven’t got and for Christophe, that was the 300 wins and the record. He already had plenty of experience abroad and had been here in Hong Kong. For me, I want the experience of riding in new places.
Maybe in a few years, I can try again, but the target at the moment is to do as well as I can here.
“As an international experience, I think Hong Kong is the best I can do. I have already ridden for a couple of months in Japan in the past, but Hong Kong to me is the ultimate challenge.”
Andrew Harding, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director, Racing Authority, said: “Pierre-Charles Boudot truly is one of the remarkable talents of his generation, which he has already shown with his feats – he has achieved so much and he is only 25. He will be a great addition to the roster over the next two months and we all look forward to watching him ride.”
Boudot is currently booked for three rides for the next Hong Kong meeting, at Sha Tin on Sunday, 7 January.