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The countdown to Sunday’s fourth annual Chengdu Dubai International Cup has begun and for the first time the meeting will feature a jockeys’ challenge pitting Chinese riders against visiting international jockeys.
Members of the Chinese media met Dubai Racing Club horsemen at Jinma lake Racecourse early on Thursday morning as the final preparations were put in place for the five-race, all-turf meeting.
The Chengdu Dubai International Cup represents a joint venture between Meydan Group, the Chengdu Municipal Government, the Chengdu Sports Bureau, the Wenjiang District Government and China Guangsha Group.
It takes place in the Wenjiang District of Chengdu and annually features horses, jockeys and trainers from Dubai Racing Club.
This year the meeting will also provide a showcase for Chinese jockeys through the new Chengdu Dubai International Jockeys’ Challenge will take place across two races on the card, the 1400m Wenjiang Sprint and the Guangsha Handicap held over a mile. The meeting is highlighted by the fourth running of the Chengdu Dubai International Cup presented by Longines.
A group of five Chinese jockeys - Bate Bayier, Ma Liankai, Wang WenXun, Yu Xuewen and Chen YI, spent time riding out for Dubai Racing Club trainers in Dubai during the 2016-17 season before returning to Chengdu for the raceday.
They will compete against a group of ten jockeys who rode during the 2016-17 Dubai Racing Club season including the UAE’s Saeed Al Mazrooei, Adrie de Vries from Holland, Pat Dobbs and Marc Monaghan from Ireland, Sam Hitchcott, Adam MacLean and Royston Ffrench from the UK, South Africa’s Bernard Fayd’Herbe, Jesus Rosales from Argentina and France’s Gerald Avranche.
Lianki has achieved notable results internationally and locally. He was winner of the international race at the 2015 Hungarian National Gallop Equestrian Festival and more recently he was the runner-up in the 2016 Group 1 CHIA China Cup.
He told media: “The time we spent in Dubai was a good learning experience for us. The quality of horses in Dubai is very high and we were able to gain a lot from the trainers and international jockeys there.
“I am very excited looking ahead to the two races we will be a part of this weekend, especially since we will be competing with some of the top jockeys in the world of horseracing. We have ridden here several times before, but mostly on the dirt track. This time on turf we hope to do well, and once again we want to thank Meydan for this opportunity.”
Trainer, Erwan Charpy, who has enjoyed previous successes at Jinma Lake Racecourse having won the 2014 Meydan Mile with returning campaigner, Citizen’s Charter under Jesus Rosales and the 2015 Meydan Handicap with Tadmir, ridden by Adrie De Vries, prepares horses from Green Stables at Meydan Racecourse.
He said: “The Chinese jockeys came to our stables and were riding our horses for us, based on our instructions of what we wanted to do with the horses, they stayed with us for about ten days.
“I have five horses running this time, they are doing well, one of them [Citizen’s Charter] has already won in Chengdu, and we have another horse in the first race which has a good chance. Fa’iz, our runner in the third race which is one of the challenge races, has been second here in the past and we hope he can go one better this time.
“The track is very good. The horses were a bit cold when they first arrived, but now they are used to it and a few have been here before and they travel well. The race track this year looks in immaculate condition, I can see there has been a lot of effort to maintain it and it looks in great shape.”
Joining Charpy’s charges in Chengdu are horses from UAE Champion trainer, Doug Watson, Satish Seemar, Ali Rashid Al Rayhi and Maria Ritchie’s Dubai yards.
Results from Sunday’s card will be available on the free Emirates Racing Authority app which will also feature the live stream of the action from Jinma Lake Racecourse and can be downloaded via the app store for android and iphone.