Not content with inventing the speed map, steering several Australian handicapping reviews and doing the form for his godson, Godolphin trainer James Cummings, Dominic Beirne mended the International Jockeys’ Challenge format.
Not many Hong Kong Jockey Club operations require attention – the racing is the most competitive in the world, as three dead heats for either first or minor places across the nine Happy Valley contests on Wednesday demonstrates – but the International Jockeys’ Challenge needed some Beirne love.
As Hong Kong Jockey Club racing official Andrew Harding revealed in his response to a post on Beirne’s Twitter account (@domran), the Happy Valley-based organisation decided to dump its old random ballot for allocating International Jockeys’ Challenge rides in favour of a new Beirne-designed, rules-driven process aimed at creating a more even playing field for the 12 superstar hoops. And it worked brilliantly, the club’s fixed odds betting market on the competition being the most competitive in its history.
The only tweak I would make in 2021 would be a change in how the Hong Kong Jockey Club awards International Jockeys’ Challenge points. I appreciate the 12-6-4 scoring system is part of Hong Kong racing throughout the year but, with the International Jockeys’ Challenge comprising just four races, I think it would be even better with a flatter and deeper allocation of points similar to the Formula One model.
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