International Jockeys' Championship: Aussie Hugh Bowman triumphs in jockey challenge

Story highlights

  • Bowman crowned IJC champ ahead of Moore
  • Wins $65,000 prize
  • Tense final race in Hong Kong

(CNN)Under the glare of floodlights and in front of a 30,000-strong crowd, 12 of the world's best jockeys went head-to-head in Hong Kong Wednesday -- with an Australian emerging victorious.

In the annual Longines International Jockeys' Championship four-race competition, Hugh Bowman bagged the $65,000 top prize after a tense contest played out at the spectacular Happy Valley racecourse.
"On these nights it's all about competing against some great riders and if you can come out on top, so much the better," the 36-year-old Bowman told the South China Morning Post. "It has capped off a great 2016."
Competing for a total pot of over $100,000, jockeys are awarded points depending on where they finished in each race and Bowman's total of 18 -- 12 of which came from winning the night's opening contest -- was enough to see the Australian take the title.

Tense finale

Bowman denied Ryan Moore a third success in the event after a tense finale which saw five riders head into the closing race with a chance of overall victory.
With competitors also representing their respective countries, Moore found himself inches away from taking the title.
A dead heat in the third leg meant the Brit shared the four points on offer for third place, before a photo finish in the final leg adjudged him to have been squeezed into a no-scoring fourth.
With luck not on his side, Moore finished four points adrift of Bowman.
However, Moore did have the consolation of being crowned the 2016 Longines World's Best Jockey for the second time in three seasons after a dominant 2016.
"It's exciting -- it's great to get one over Ryan because he's pretty hard to beat at any time," added Bowan.
"But these competitions are great to come to and compete in what is a little bit more relaxed atmosphere than Cox Plates and Melbourne Cups and the like."
Bowman has enjoyed six first place finishes in the 2016 season, finishing as the third-ranked jockey in the world behind Moore and Belgium's Christophe Soumillon.
Mirco Demiro enjoyed a storming run on Peter Ho-trained Mutual Joy in the third leg to win the race from Bowman after recovering from a sluggish start. Demiro ended tied for third place on 12 points after Japan's Keita Tosaki won the final leg to draw level with the Italian.