Racing: Bosson's blooming in HK

By Michael Guerin

Exclusive: Champion Kiwi jockey hoping to turn back on NZ — except for major races.
Opie Bosson's career Downunder reached its zenith when he combined with Mongolian Khan to win this season's Caulfield Cup. Picture / Trish Dunell
Opie Bosson's career Downunder reached its zenith when he combined with Mongolian Khan to win this season's Caulfield Cup. Picture / Trish Dunell

Champion jockey Opie Bosson hopes his days of riding at all but the best New Zealand meetings are over.

Bosson says his present stint riding in Hong Kong is a dream come true, one he wants to keep living until the end of his career.

Bosson rode his first Hong Kong winner when kicking home 20-1 chance Horse Supremo at Sha Tin on Sunday.

It was only a standard class four race but was worth HK$800,000 ($145,000) and with winning jockey's getting 10 per cent, the victory was worth more to Bosson than riding the first NZ group one winner of the new season at Hastings.

"Obviously the money is great but that is not the only reason I want to stay here," Bosson told the Herald.

"I have always wanted to ride here so to get the contract in the first place was amazing, a dream come true.

"And now I have been offered a three-month extension, which means I can ride through until early December when the season starts back in September.

"I am hoping I can keep getting on some of the right horses, keep kicking some goals and get a longer term contract.

"I'd love to ride out the rest of my career here."

After an understandably slow start to the new phase of his career, during which good local judges say he was riding often average horses to the best of their ability, there is now light at the end of the Sha Tin straight.

Bosson has 14 first four placings to go with his breakthrough win from 64 rides during the stint. He has had four rides on Sunday and five booked last night.

"And I have a book of eight for [next] Sunday, which is a big deal. So things are really picking up.

"The time for me to try to get established here is right. It was getting harder to get motivated for some of the lower stakes racing at home.

"Here, there isn't as much travelling and, to be honest, I don't mind wasting as much [losing weight] for the sort of money we ride for here, compared with say a $7000 race back home."

Bosson has been anything but a New Zealand-only star in recent seasons, with Mongolian Khan and Turn Me Loose thrusting him into the limelight on Australia's richest race days as well.

That ascension reached its zenith when he combined with Mongolian Khan to win this season's Caulfield Cup.

While the reigning Horse of the Year has been retired to stud, Bosson hopes he can continue his association with Turn Me Loose this spring.

"The rules up here are I can go back for a group one race on a Saturday as long as I am back for the Sunday meeting here," says the 35-year-old.

"So I am hoping to stay on him for the major races over the spring."

Bosson is in Hong Kong with partner Emily Murphy, a presenter on Trackside TV in New Zealand. The couple will holiday briefly when the Hong Kong season ends on July 10 before returning to New Zealand for a few weeks.

"But I won't be riding when I come back home, it will be a chance to freshen up. I don't actually have to be back in Hong Kong until about a week before the season starts in early September but I want to come back up in August to ride at trackwork and at the trials."

The Boss

Opie Bosson's stellar NZ numbers

Career wins (NZ): 1528.

Group and listed wins: 159.

Stakes: $31,850,503.

Best season: 2009-10, 158 wins, $3,237,906.

Strike rate: In 2012-13, rode a winner every 4.32 rides.

- NZ Herald

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