Matthew Chadwick hopes to carry impressive momentum onto the international stage at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday (September 4) when he partners Hong Kong's Computer Patch in the G3 Korea Sprint (1200m, sand) and Kings Shield in the G3 Korea Cup (1800m, sand).
Winner of the Tony Cruz Award as Hong Kong's best-performed local jockey last season with 55 wins, Chadwick is relishing the opportunity to parade his wares internationally as he combines with Jimmy Ting (Computer Patch) and Hong Kong's champion trainer Frankie Lor (Kings Shield).
“It's a great opportunity and privilege to come overseas with a couple of Hong Kong horses. A lot of us haven't been away because of COVID,” Chadwick, 32, said. “So, it's great to be able to come here to compete on a personal and professional level.
“It's been a long time – a long road – in between riding overseas. Hopefully this can be another platform for me to go up from here. It's great that it's two Hong Kong horses who have been able to come here. It's very exciting.”
A Hong Kong Jockey Club Apprentice Jockeys' School graduate, Chadwick rode successfully in Australia in his formative riding days before returning to Hong Kong, where his startling rise continued under Tony Cruz.
Chadwick exercised Kings Shield (Thursday, September 1) and is hopeful the 103-rater can reprise the form which has carried him to four wins on the Sha Tin dirt as well as a pair of victories on synthetic surfaces in England before export to Hong Kong in 2017 and 2018.
“His work this morning was basically the same as what he does in Hong Kong. He did half a mile (800m) in about 57-58 (seconds). He just went through his paces on the sand, similar to what Frankie does with him in Hong Kong,” Chadwick said before the veteran drew barrier one for Sunday's test.
“He trialled okay (August 24) before he left Hong Kong. He should have improved off that, which I would say he has. It's a different surface here but he seemed to go through it fine this morning. The surface is a bit different to Hong Kong, a bit deeper. He was jumping around a bit prior to the work, so he seems to be in good shape.
“Both horses seem to be okay, they seem to have travelled well enough. They're pretty healthy.
“Kings Shield went around the track ok, the stable seems happy with him – same with Computer Patch. That's all you can ask for really.”
After competing in England and France for John Gosden as a two and three-year-old, Kings Shield will race in his fourth different country on Sunday.
While Chadwick will take the reins on seven-year-old Kings Shield for the first time this weekend, he will again combine with Computer Patch, having previously ridden the gelding in nine of his 29 starts in Hong Kong.
“I haven't ridden him (Computer Patch) since his jump-out in Hong Kong, but the boys with him here from Hong Kong say he's travelled well and they think he's handling the track well, so we don't have any negatives next to his name and hopefully it stays that way,” Chadwick said.
“The weather here has been a bit gloomy and there's supposed to be a bit of rain around this weekend.
“The important thing for the two Hong Kong runners – and it's the same for any of the overseas horses – will be the condition of the track and how they handle it on the day.
“An educated guess is that they should handle it. The main thing I'm hearing here is that you don't want to get too much kick-back. The good thing is that both of our runners should be prominent anyway, so hopefully we can get into good positions.”
Computer Patch will jump from gate eight.
Since returning from Conghua last month, Computer Patch has had four gallops on Sha Tin's dirt in preparation for this assignment.
Chadwick is yet to fully gauge the strength of the opposition he is likely to face on Sunday, but has telling faith in his mounts.
“I haven't heard much about the opposition. The Japanese runners, you always have to keep an eye on them but the surface will play a big part in the race,” he said.
“As far as our horses are concerned, they're fit and healthy, they've travelled well and if they're going to be on top of their game or close to it, they should run well as long as they handle the track.
“I haven't heard any reason why they can't adapt to the opposite way (racing left-handed) and I rode Kings Shield and he adapted really well. He changed his legs and did everything well – and I heard the same about Computer Patch from the boys with him here.”