Vincent Ho is dreaming of adding a victory at the Qatar Goodwood Festival to his CV when he makes a brief visit to the UK.
The Hong Kong jockey is best known for his association with superstar Golden Sixty, while he has also enjoyed big-race glory aboard Japan’s Breeders’ Cup champion Loves Only You, who he partnered to QE II Cup glory at Sha Tin in 2021.
Now Ho is making the most of a short break in the Hong Kong calendar to ride in the UK for a swift two-week period, where he hopes to add to his worldwide tally on the iconic Sussex Downs.
He said: “I wanted to come to Goodwood and I’ve never been there before. To be able to ride such a beautiful track, it will feel amazing to be there and involved.
“I will be doing my best to get a winner, that would be great. But if not it will still be a great experience for me to become a better jockey and horseman. What ever the result I’m sure I will enjoy it.”
He went on: “I’m sure it will be very hard to get rides and I’m not sure how many rides I will get at the moment, but hopefully I will be able to have a few.
“I know a lot of trainers, but they wouldn’t know me. I’ve worked a few years for Mr (Mark) Johnston and hopefully I will be able to get on some.”
Ho rode seven winners overall when enjoying previous visits to the UK in 2018 and 2019, with the majority of those provided by Johnston and after Goodwood Ho plans to return to Middleham to again link up with the Kingsley Park operation.
Then the final act of his two-week stint will see his sights turn to earning a spot in the Ascot winner’s enclosure when he competes in the Shergar Cup for the second time.
World Pool will be in action from Tuesday to Thursday during Goodwood, with plenty of punters betting into the pool from Hong Kong.
He continued: “After Goodwood I’m going to go up to Mr Johnston’s stables to ride out in the morning and also, I’m not sure, but I might have some rides in midweek. That would be great.
“It will then be my second time in the Shergar Cup at Ascot and I’m looking forward to it. It is a dream to ride at Ascot for every jockey I think.
“I was at the Shergar Cup in 2019 and it was a rainy and windy day, but it was still amazing to ride there.
“It just felt different to anywhere, even Sha Tin or Flemington. I just felt Ascot has this very different vibe and having watched Royal Ascot and the King George on TV back in Hong Kong it was a dream to ride there and be able to win on a horse there. It was really enjoyable.”
Ho’s trip to the UK is sandwiching a four-week period in Japan as he makes the most of the limited time available in the Hong Kong off season.
The 33-year-old has experience riding all over the world, but it is clear he values his time spent in the UK, where the unique nature of the tracks gives him the perfect opportunity to hone his skills in the saddle.
“Most tracks around the world are built by a human, while UK tracks are around the hills and more natural,” explained Ho.
“So the grounding is very different. It’s uphill, downhill, left, right and lots of variety.
“It can help make you a much better jockey because you have to trust your own feelings on the horse to know when to pick them up and go to try and win races.
“Of course you also need to know the tracks really well. The UK can have four weathers in one day and a lot can be affected by the weather and how the ground is. So there is a lot of uncertainty you have to deal with in a short space of time.
“You could also be riding horses that I haven’t seen or touched before and it’s completely different to Hong Kong and Japan where you would get to ride them in track work in the days before and get familiar with how they ride.”
Ho has partnered Francis Lui’s Golden Sixty in all of his 29 career outings as the seven-year-old has become one of the most famous and successful horses in Hong Kong racing history.
Golden Sixty was named Hong Kong Horse of the Year for the third consecutive year in July and after the duo teamed up for their ninth Group One success in the Champions Mile in April, the jockey is full of praise for a horse he credits with boosting his profile as a rider and providing him with opportunities he never thought would be possible.
“I’m privileged to ride him and I’m still learning every day from him,” said Ho.
“He’s a superstar as a horse and an athlete. He’s very popular in Hong Kong and he has definitely helped me get recognition around the world.
“To be able to ride a Japanese horse in Loves Only You to win a QEII or now coming to Goodwood and the Shergar Cup, Golden Sixty has brought me a lot of opportunities like this.”