William Pike returns to Perth from Hong Kong in just under a fortnight with the aim of building on his lead in the jockeys' premiership.
Pike took up a three-month contract with the Hong Kong Jockey Club in late April following the departure of riders such as Jeff Lloyd, who returned to Australia and is now the No.1 rider for Patinack Farm in Queensland.
Pike left confident he had his fourth premiership sewn up with 67 city wins - and even a late charge by Peter Knuckey (54) failed to faze him.
He returns to Perth as the stable rider for owner-breeders Bob and Sandra Peters, for whom apprentice Jordan Mallyon has ridden winners Morning Mist (Saturday) and Southern Princess (yesterday) at Belmont Park.
Pike said he enjoyed his time in Hong Kong but was hampered from making the most of a flying start by two suspensions.
He claimed his first win on El Grande at his third meeting on May 16 and scored a double on Lifeline Elite and Newswire Too at the following Sha Tin meeting.
"I started great," Pike said. "The first time I went to Hong Kong it took me 10 meetings to ride my first winner.
"I started really well, but copped two careless riding suspensions which cost me four meetings.
"It also cost me a few winners as a couple of the horses won for other jockeys when I was out.
"It is hard here as the trainers often expect you to commit to their horse three weeks out from a race."
Pike joined a strong Australian group in Hong Kong which includes Brett Prebble and Zac Purton, who won the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes on Little Bridge at Royal Ascot, Tye Angland, Tim Clark and the WA-born Mark Zahra.Pike's partner Jessica Valas has returned home with their son Jett. She is expecting their second child late next month.