Unwanted Street Cat roars for reluctant Yeung

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 June, 2012, 12:00am


Blow-out winner Street Cat's record was so abysmal and his vet report so long that he wasn't just unwanted by punters, Gary Ng Ting-kung had even struggled to find a willing rider for his hopelessly out-of-form galloper during the week.

Keith Yeung Ming-lun eventually relented and then brought up a double on the injury-plagued seven-year-old, who went off at 79-1, to continue a career-best season for the former apprentice.

Yeung thought he had drawn the short straw, riding a horse that had been beaten a combined 30 lengths at his last three starts and at one stage had been limited to one run in 22 months because of lameness issues.

'They couldn't find a jockey who wanted to ride him, and when they asked me I said 'Have you tried everyone else yet?' but they pleaded with me,' Yeung said.

Yeung's confidence levels didn't rise pre-race when greeted by a horse who also happens to be a parade-ring menace with a near side joint twice its original size.

'I just thought - 'Can we scratch him now?' ... and then Gary tells me you might want to mount up on the track because he is a bit wild ... he is mental, he is just crazy, he'll try and sit on the fence, kick and buck.'

After Yeung made it safely to the start, Street Cat proceeded to flop out of the gates, looking completely uncompetitive before bursting through late to snatch the Hong Kong Riding For The Disabled Cup (1,000m).

'He missed the kick and was just looking at everything ... I just sat on him and waited until whenever he was comfortable and we got a very good result,' the jockey said.

The upset win was Yeung's 34th for the term, and helped him win the Jockey Challenge, after he had earlier scored on Great Pegasus for Almond Lee.

'He is a funny horse,' Yeung said. 'Before he came to Hong Kong he had no education, and he has no manners. Before in a race, he would just try and go too hard, and it drains him.'

Lee said the key for Great Pegasus was a quick tempo. 'It was just like his last win - perfect box seat and a perfect pace,' he said. 'If he is behind the speed and they go 23 seconds or slower for a quarter he will pull, he just needs a fast pace and cover.'

Yeung graduated to the senior riding ranks this season, but remains close with Lee, who is happy with youngsters progress.

'I'm very proud of the fact he continues to improve,' Lee said. 'He is a good boy who listens. He is his own man now but he remains humble.'