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Typhoons a concern for Hong Kong riders

Hong Kong racing officials are monitoring typhoons around Hong Kong to determine whether jockeys Joao Moreira and Sam Clipperton will be allowed to come to Australia to ride at Moonee Valley on the weekend.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club does not want a repeat of a situation last year when two leading jockeys were stranded overseas and missed a Sha Tin meeting.

Moreira is booked to ride French horse Vadamos in the Cox Plate on Saturday while Clipperton is due to ride English in the Manikato Stakes the night before.

HKJC chief steward Kim Kelly hopes a decision will be made at Wednesday night’s Happy Valley meeting, or at the latest early on Thursday, whether the two jockeys can head to Melbourne.

Moreira is booked to fly on Thursday morning with Clipperton later that night.

Kelly said the major concern was getting the riders back for the Sha Tin meeting on Sunday when both are expected to have a near full books of rides.

He said it was not only the typhoons themselves causing concern but a backlog of flights into Hong Kong if the airport is forced to close.

“There’s a number of permutations we have to look at before we can decide on the matter,” Kelly said.

Moreira and Zac Purton missed a Sha Tin meeting last year when their flight was diverted to Taiwan after the pair rode at the Epsom Handicap meeting in Sydney.

Kelly said it had a dramatic effect on the connections who were left to find replacement riders and punters who had to adjust their selections.

“It put them at a significant inconvenience, particularly the connections,” Kelly said.

Kelly said a minimum of 16 riders were required for Happy Valley meetings on Wednesday nights and a minimum of 18 for Sha Tin meetings.

“We’ve got a couple of riders out at the moment with injury and suspension,” Kelly said.

“It’s very important that those riders are guaranteed as much as possible to be back on Sunday.

“We do what we can to maintain those numbers wherever we can so as to lessen the need to fly jockeys in.”

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