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Posted 2021-12-17 08:16:04  
Hong Kong announces New Zealander as trainer

Hong Kong Jockey Club unveils Jamie Richards as new addition to training ranks

The Hong Kong Jockey Club is pleased to announce that Jamie Richards will be joining the training ranks in Hong Kong for the start of the 2022/23 racing season.

“Firstly, I’d just like to say what an honour it is to be licensed by the Licensing Committee for the upcoming season, it’s a very rare opportunity that doesn’t come around very often and something that I have been particularly keen on chasing in recent times,” Richards said via Zoom interview this morning (Friday, 17 December) at a media conference at Happy Valley Racecourse.

Currently head trainer of Te Akau Racing, Richards has already torn down the record books in New Zealand, setting a new all-time wins record for a single season (160), a new all-time record for domestic Group/Listed Stakes wins in a single season (36), a new all-time tally for Group 1s through a single season, the most prize money earned and the fastest 100 wins for a single New Zealand racing season.

“I think Asia and in particular Hong Kong is a very important part of world racing as was showcased last week with the Hong Kong International Races, it’s some of the most competitive racing in the world with some of the best bred animals and some of the best trainers and jockeys,” Richards outlined.

The 32-year-old boasts three training championships in New Zealand while at the helm of Te Akau Racing, twice reaching the top with 101 wins before achieving an astonishing 160 through the 2020/21 season, which also encompassed his record 36 wins at Group or Listed Stakes level.

Richards is synonymous with the nurturing of exceptional talents such as Melody Belle, Probabeel, Te Akau Shark, Xtravagant, Gingernuts and Avantage. He guided Melody Belle to a record-breaking 14 Group 1 wins – the most by a New Zealand-trained galloper; she also remains the only horse in history to claim the Hawke’s Bay Triple Crown.

Not least, she also claimed successive New Zealand Champion Racehorse of the Year titles (2018/19 & 2019/20) under Richards, as well as a top-level score across the Tasman Sea in Australia, winning the G1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington Racecourse.

“It’s a challenge that we’re really looking forward to, it’s a difficult decision to leave New Zealand and as well we’ve enjoyed so much success in Australia - that was going to be a viable option as well - but I’m really looking forward to the challenge of training in Hong Kong,” Richards said.

Probabeel, Richards’ other leading flagbearer, is the only horse to win both age-restricted features at the Karaka Million meeting; she is also a four-time Group 1 winner in Australia.

Having achieved a remarkable 50 Group 1 winners across his career, Richards landed the half-century milestone when he trained the first four across the line in the 2021 G1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) last month, led by The Perfect Pink.

In recent times, he has trained five successive winners of the NZ$1 million (approx. HK$5.29 million) 2YO Karaka Million (1200m), with Melody Belle (2017), Avantage (2018), Probabeel (2019), Cool Aza Beel (2020) and On The Bubbles (2021).

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