Ng finally gets it together to bag a treble - but now comes his enforced break
Apprentice Alvin Ng Ka-chun finally had the day that most have been expecting all season, but he was ruing his timing - bringing home his first three-timer but with a month's suspension to start this morning.
Earlier in the week, top expatriate rider Zac Purton had been enlisted by the Jockey Club to assist Ng with some mentoring and he said at the time he hoped he could do something for Ng's confidence, which had been sagging.
Well, there seemed not a lot wrong with Ng's confidence by just over halfway through yesterday's card when he was in to long odds-on in the Jockey Challenge in-play betting, though Andreas Suborics later touched him off to win that contest.
'In the last week, I had five seconds from 11 rides - now I get three winners and I'm suspended for a month. I guess that's racing,' said Ng, who is learning the hard lessons of his multiple careless riding infringements lately and had a message from the stewards, even after winning on Hot Pepper and Winning Mascot for his boss, Dennis Yip Chor-hong, and Joyful Luck for Michael Chang Chun-wai.
On each of the three winners, Ng had his mount against the rail for the greater part of the race, but the stipes took a dim view of his effort high, wide and handsome on Jimson The Best later in the afternoon, telling the seven-pound claimer that he hadn't done enough in early stages to try to get the gelding over from his wide draw.
Each of the Yip-trained winners was also accompanied by a strong move in the betting, with Hot Pepper backed from over $60 to start a $28 favourite and Winning Mascot sensationally supported from $180 to $51 before taking advantage of an uncontested lead.
'It does help when you're in weak races to be on the leader,' said Ng of his minor grade wins. 'The horses chasing me weren't very strong and especially on Winning Mascot, the others left me alone to make the pace at my own speed.
'I thought my chance to get a treble might have gone when I lost my claim down to seven pounds.'
At least Ng, whose season had begun with enormous expectations and has fallen short of them partly because he has missed so many days suspended, gets to go out on a high note with his treble. When he resumes in early July, only three meetings will remain in the term.