Grant Van Niekerk is looking forward to the Hong Kong season opener on Sunday, 2 September when he will fulfil a long-held ambition and open a new chapter in his burgeoning career story.
The South African, a 10-time G1 winner, is hoping to continue a rich connection between Hong Kong racing and his homeland as he follows the route taken by several top jockeys down the years, including three greats: Douglas Whyte, Felix Coetzee and Basil Marcus.
“Riding in Hong Kong is an experience that every jockey wants to have, especially where I’m from, so I’m very blessed to be here. Thank you to the Jockey Club for allowing me to ride here,” Van Niekerk said.
The Cape Town native, 27, was the Western Cape Champion Apprentice in 2010/11. Last season, he partnered South Africa’s Horse of the Year, Oh Susanna, to three top-flight wins that included a famous victory in the Sun Met and enabled his rise to the top of the earnings table.
Van Niekerk is no stranger to stepping into the unknown, having never sat on a horse prior to his arrival at the South African Jockey Academy in January, 2007. But, despite landing in Hong Kong only two weeks ago, he is not altogether unfamiliar with the famous two-track circuit.