Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Callan Murray — the star jockey of the recent Champions Day meeting at Turffontein — has been signed up for a short-term contract in Hong Kong and will have his first ride at Sha-Tin racecourse next Sunday.

This is the second overseas foray for last season’s champion apprentice as he spent four weeks in Australia over Christmas with trainer David Hayes.

Murray, 20, hit the racing headlines at Turffontein 10 days ago when winning three grade1 races on the 12-event card. His wins included the R4m Premier’s Champions Challenge on Geoff Woodruff’s runner Deo Juvente. He also won the grade1 Computaform Sprint and grade1 SA Nursery for Mike de Kock and he consulted the legendary trainer before deciding on the move to Hong Kong.

"It’s a short-term contract and I will fly back for two big races during the KwaZulu-Natal season — the Daily News 2000 and Vodacom Durban July," said Murray.

Before he leaves, Murray will have to cough up R2,500 to the National Horseracing Authority after being fined R5,000 for not wearing a body protector prior to a race at Fairview on April 14. Half of the fine was suspended for 12 months.

The lure of earning decent money overseas is seeing SA’s jockey ranks depleted as this season’s leading rider, Gavin Lerena, flew to the UK last week to join the stable of Charlie Hills.

Gold Circle has released the final field for the Betting World Greyville 1,900 to be run on Friday night, but it is a largely disappointing line-up with Elusive Silva the only runner prominent in the ante-post betting on the Durban July.

Elusive Silva is one of three runners from Justin Snaith’s stable and Anthony Delpech will take the ride on the four-year-old. Delpech has already indicated that his July ride is likely to be another Snaith inmate, Black Arthur, but it may be a concern to the jockey that the four-year-old could only finish 10th in the recent Drill Hall Stakes.

Both Delpech and Anton Marcus have won the July four times and Marcus will partner Master Switch for trainer Woodruff in Friday’s race. He races in the colours of Marcus Jooste who won 2016’s July with The Conglomerate.

Another runner looking to enhance his July prospects is Ten Gun Salute who ran a shocker in the Drill Hall Stakes trailing in at the back of the field. Muzi Yeni has been booked to ride Duncan Howells’ runner.

Marcus and Highveld trainer Joe Soma teamed up to win the Wilgerbosdrift Oaks with Wind Chill and they will be hoping to capture Tuesday’s fourth race at Turffontein with Knysna Rose.

Murray rides Burning Rock for trainer Woodruff in the final leg of the jackpot where a  number of runners possess winning chances including stablemates, Fish River Canyon and AP Channel.

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