Andrea Atzeni has enjoyed the best year of his burgeoning career so far with four Group 1 wins on the board - a first British Classic among them - and the Italian rider is hoping to continue in the same vein as he commences a three-month contract with the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
“I had a great year in the UK, Roger Varian and Luca Cumani were very supportive and without them I probably wouldn’t be here now,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this next step and I’d like to thank the Hong Kong Jockey Club for having me. It’s a big privilege for me to be riding in Hong Kong against some of the world’s top jockeys.
“It’s not easy to get the chance to come to Hong Kong, you’ve got to be a good jockey with a Group 1 record, so as a young jockey, if you do get the chance, it’s massive. The racing’s great, the prize money’s great and as a jockey it’s very important to come here because it helps your development a lot - it’s something that’s got to be done.”
After arriving in Hong Kong on Thursday Atzeni was quick off the mark this morning, Friday, 14 November, riding work and getting a small taster of racing at Sha Tin in two barrier trials.
“It’s a different style here, a different way of racing,” said Atzeni, who at 23 is one of European racing’s brightest young talents and recently signed as first jockey to Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Qatar Racing operation.
“I’ve watched a lot of races here; and also listening to what people say, you have to ride a lot sharper - you have to become a lot sharper, mentally. I was in Australia for the Melbourne Cup and Australia is probably closer to how they ride here; the start is very important here, whereas in Europe it’s more about getting horses relaxed and into a rhythm. I’m sure I’ll adapt - I’ll try my best and I’m pretty sure it will work out.”
Atzeni left his homeland for Britian at the age of 15 and has made rapid strides since graduating from the British Racing School. His first major success came in just his second season riding, aboard Darley Sun in the historic Cesarewitch Handicap in 2009. He has enjoyed a top-class association with Kingston Hill during the past two years, winning the G1 Racing Post Trophy and the G1 St Leger, the world’s oldest Classic, on the Varian-trained colt.
Mr Steve Railton, Stipendiary Steward and Secretary of the Licensing Committee at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said: “The Club is always looking out for the best young talent and Andrea fits the bill. The Club is very happy to have signed him for these three months and the fact that he has also recently signed as retained rider for Qatar Racing just emphasises how highly he is regarded.”
Jockey Andrea Atzeni’s interview:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBubSdzqe-Q (from EA Media Solutions)
Kim Kelly (right), the Club��s Chief Stipendiary Steward and Steve Railton (left), Stipendiary Steward & Secretary, Licensing Committee, welcome Andrea Atzeni to the Hong Kong jockey ranks.
Andrea Atzeni is hoping for success during his riding stint in Hong Kong.