Jockey Brenton Avdulla enjoyed a momentous 2018 – winning the AU$3.5 million G1 Golden Slipper Stakes and both principal jockeys’ premierships in his adopted home New South Wales; securing a riding contract in Japan and marrying Taylor Paine, daughter of former jockey Neil Paine.
However, 2019 is ending on a similar high with the birth of his first child yesterday (Sunday) and the opportunity next Sunday to claim a first International Group 1 win, aboard In Her Time, in the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint at his first ride in Hong Kong.
“After a long weekend Taylor and I are proud to welcome our amazing little man Hunter James Avdulla born yesterday at 6.04 pm, weighing 3.5 kg. Both mum and bub are doing well,” reported Avdulla who plans to leave on Saturday, after racing in Sydney, and return on Monday.
This will be the first time Avdulla has ridden in Hong Kong but not the first time he’s been racing at Sha Tin.
“I took advantage, if that’s the right word, of getting suspended in Sydney and came up to see Chautauqua win the Chairman’s Sprint (Prize). He’s a horse I’d ridden a few times and it was fantastic to see what he did that day, producing his big, big finish,” he said.
“So I’ve seen the track first hand and plenty of it, of course, on television. It’s a nice, big, fair course and it’s no issue to ride there for the first time. You tend to know the horses there as well, especially the sprinters, as we see them regularly and that’s a plus as well.”
So, what does he make of In Her Time’s prospects against the Hong Kong sprinters?
“You know there’s a lot of depth among the Hong Kong sprinters. They’re all very decent horses and now we’ve got the up and coming three-year-old Aethero who looks pretty special so maybe we’re up against it.
“However, the Australian sprinters almost always measure up wherever they go and she (In Her Time) is very consistent. You can forgive her run in the Everest when she returned this season and then her second-up run at Flemington was full of merit. She beat home Group 1 winners like Santa Ana Lane and Alizee.
“The draw will be important. I know everyone says that but in her case, I’d want her to get as cosy a run as possible. I don’t know whether she can win but I am really looking forward to riding her and whatever happens, I don’t think she’ll be disgraced,” he said.