David Morgan

Chief Journalist


Where are they now? Jockey Andreas Suborics

Former jockey Andreas Suborics reflects on a storied international riding career, including various challenging stints in Hong Kong.

Being a respected champion jockey in Europe counts for little when you’re feeding off scraps around Sha Tin. Andreas Suborics knows all about that.

The Vienna-born three-time champion of Germany had a solitary third-place finish to show from 27 rides during his first crack at Hong Kong in the 1997-98 campaign and he might not have been granted a second shot but for his cool Group One-winning ride on Silvano in the 2001 QEII Cup.

Despite the underwhelming start, ‘Subi’ became a familiar face in Hong Kong – a well-liked character, too, by all accounts – during stints of varying lengths thereafter, returning to the exacting circuit even after two serious head injuries. Silvano aside, he was unable to replicate in Hong Kong his major wins in France, the United States, Germany, Singapore and Italy aboard the likes of Tiger Hill, Schirocco, Paolini and Overdose. He posted his best tally of 16 wins during his final Hong Kong season in 2014-15, and, all told, he notched 70 wins from 1,718 rides. Suborics, 50, retired from race-riding in 2016 and now trains his own string at Cologne Racecourse.


Andreas Suborics boots home Lucky Scepter at Sha Tin in 2015. (Photo by Getty Images)

How are things shaping up at your stables, “Rennstall  Suborics”?

I started with 30 horses and now I train 60. We had three Group 2 wins in 2021 and one Group 3, and earned close to one million Euro in prize money, so we are doing ok. I’m based on the track, alongside big trainers like Waldemar Hickst, Peter Schiergen and Henk Grewe. Cologne, I think, is the biggest training centre in Germany with nearly 400 horses here at the moment. My target is always to train horses for big races, black type races. I’m not chasing numbers, so for me it’s about training the quality. If you can have quality, you will get the prize money. My clients tend to buy more French-bred horses and Paris is just 480 kilometres away, so now I’d say more than half of my horses run in France where the prize money is better than in Germany.

How is the industry in Germany faring at present?

We still have good breeders and I think we still have strong horses in Germany. The thing is, if they perform in big races, if a big offer comes from Australia or Hong Kong, the situation here makes it much harder for us to keep the horses. The low prizemoney means owners are happy to sell the horses for a big price because they cannot make that money in Germany.

Your final riding contract in Hong Kong ended in July 2015 and you added a further Group 1 win to your record that September in Italy thanks to Red Dubawi, so what prompted you to close out your career as a jockey so soon after?

I was 44 when I left Hong Kong: I rode for one more year, I rode a bit for Waldemar Hickst, but because of my years in Hong Kong I lost about half of my clients in Germany. I like to work with horses, I wanted to continue doing that and it just felt like it was the right time to make the move to training.

To the Group One German Derby winner, the heady spoils. (Photo by Getty Images)

When you look back, how do you view your time in Hong Kong?

I found Hong Kong very hard but I still like the place a lot. The first time I went there I was a bit lost and my English wasn’t so good. It was still a good move because it opened my eyes that I had to pick up better English if I wanted to have an international career. You need a good start there, you need luck, and you need good social contacts with the owners to get good success. It’s a bit different going in for short contracts to when you go in and stay for a longer period and by the time I understood the system it was already too late. I’m looking back with positivity though because while some things were really tough, I had a great time there. I still made more money than in Germany and it was a good life experience.

You rode the Group 1 sprinter Amber Sky as well as the high-class Blizzard at the outset of their careers but then lost those rides to more ‘fashionable’ jockeys: Did that rankle?

When I lost the ride on Blizzard, I couldn’t do the weight one time so another jockey got on and won so then the horse was gone from me. If I had a bigger name, I’d have got him back but that wasn’t the case. In Germany I would not have lost those good horses but Hong Kong was a different place. Some of the jockeys in Hong Kong will do anything to get one good horse from you but I think the money makes people like that. But that’s the way it is and I’m not the only jockey that lost good horses. We also had good times together: we had trips on the boats, with the farriers, jockeys, staff from the stables, and we had a lot of fun.

Was there anything you learned during your many trackwork mornings at Sha Tin that you have implemented into your training methods?

Everywhere I’ve been in the world I’ve picked up some ideas for my training career and I certainly did pick up things in Hong Kong. Most times, when I was working as a stable jockey with German trainers, the style was very different to Hong Kong and what I’ve found now is that I can mix together all the things I’ve learned from travelling and riding in those other places. But if I have a horse that is a sprinter in Germany, or a horse for a mile or seven furlongs, I’ll put in place what I learned in Hong Kong and will train them a little bit harder than other German trainers would. I work them and get them more screwed-down and they know their job a little bit better.

Suborics takes globetrotting superstar Paolini onto the track ahead of The Prince of Wales' Stakes at Royal Ascot. (Photo by Getty Images)

Do you have any ambition to one day return to Hong Kong as a trainer?

Yes, of course. If one day I am offered the chance, I would go. Now wouldn’t be the best time. It’s a shame the Covid situation has been so bad there but just focussing on the racing industry, yes, I’d love to go there. When I was there I was with my wife, Natasha, and it was a big advantage that my wife loved it there. I think this year I might have a horse for the Hong Kong International Races in December. Best Of Lips won the Group 2 Derby trial in Cologne impressively last year but he came out of the race with a small injury. I’m very confident that he has the quality. And I have the filly Pena: I think she’ll be a strong four-year-old for some international races.



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