Horse Racing
Domeyer eager to test his skills in Hong Kong

30/04/2019 16:06

Aldo Domeyer is licensed to ride in Hong Kong till the end of the season.
Aldo Domeyer is licensed to ride in Hong Kong till the end of the season.

Aldo Domeyer is looking forward to rising to the Hong Kong challenge when his 10-week licence commences on Wednesday, 1 May at Happy Valley.

“I think any rider around the world understands that this is some sort of pinnacle of world racing and somehow you want to ply your trade here,” the South African rider said during a press conference at Sha Tin Racecourse this morning Tuesday, 30 April.

“My eyes have always been on Hong Kong,” he continued. “I don’t think anyone looks at Hong Kong and sees it as part of the journey, it’s more the destination and I feel greatly honoured to be welcomed here. I’m more excited than anything else.”  

Domeyer, 32, is one of South Africa’s top riders and the son of former South African champion jockey Andrew Fortune. He was crowned Cape Champion Jockey last year and earned a shot at the 2018 Singapore International Jockeys’ Challenge, which he won.

He arrives in Hong Kong with close to 1000 wins, including three successes at G1 level. The first of those was achieved aboard Martial Eagle in the prestigious J&B Met at Kenilworth Racecourse in 2013.

He arrives with his eyes open to some of the challenges ahead as he takes his place on one of the world’s toughest circuits.

“It’s consistently challenging, obviously the best in the world are here and things are a bit cut throat, so you always have to stay on top of your game all the time, much like back home but obviously this is a bit more intense. You have just got to keep at the top of your game and keep pushing yourself,” he said.

Hong Kong’s newest rider takes questions from the media.
Hong Kong’s newest rider takes questions from the media.

Domeyer’s journey hasn’t been a textbook progression. After entering the South African Jockeys’ Academy as a teenager, he left only to return a few years later.

“When I initially went to the academy I was perhaps a bit bigger than the other guys and academically I was doing quite well so the riding master suggested that I try something else, I left racing (to give an opportunity to) someone in South Africa who perhaps needed it more than I did and it took me about four years to get back into the racing academy,” he explained.

“But once you’re bitten by the racing bug there’s no way of getting out of it, it took me a very long time to get back into the academy but I kept on pressing and eventually after four or five years I got accepted again.”

Domeyer admits that his youthful optimism kept him in a good frame of mind during that time.

“You’re young and silly, so you’re always optimistic and always think you’re going to end up somewhere and that ignorance aided me quite nicely along the way,” he revealed.

“It was a long journey getting back in but I think during that in time I grew as a rider and as a horseman; I learnt a lot in that time and perhaps I just wasn’t ready when I really wanted or thought I needed it. I think things came at the right time and when I did start I was a lot older and stronger than the young guys, which gave me a really good start to my career and just catapulted me.”

HKJC Director of Racing Business and Operations Mr. Bill Nader welcomes Aldo Domeyer.
HKJC Director of Racing Business and Operations Mr. Bill Nader welcomes Aldo Domeyer.

Domeyer joins Karis Teetan and Grant van Niekerk as the third jockey on the current roster to have come through the South African Jockeys’ Academy.

He experienced his first morning of trackwork at Sha Tin on Tuesday, participating in two trials, and has three rides lined up for his debut meeting, all for compatriot trainer Tony Millard – C P Power, Prance Dragon and Arcada.

Mr. William Nader, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Director of Racing Business and Operations noted that Domeyer’s invitation to ride in Hong Kong was a credit to the “great accomplishments and great success” he has already achieved.

“When you look at his success over his career it’s great to welcome him to Hong Kong. It’s an exciting time for us at the Club anytime we introduce a new jockey because it’s talking about the future of Hong Kong racing that we believe in somebody enough to license them and get them on their way here.

“Hong Kong as we all know is a challenging place, I think any rider who comes in here accepts that challenge and relies on his skills and what got him here, so we’ll see what the future brings – it’s exciting.”