Yiu stable goes from strength to strength
By Racing Editor LAWRENCE WADEY
DEBUT trainer Ricky Yiu, with owners clambering to get through his stable doors, sent out a double at last night's dirt meeting at Sha Tin to continue the dream start to his career.
Yiu, previously assistant to Eddie Lo and Geoff Lane, took the fourth event with the heavily backed all-weather specialist Solar Century and immediately followed up with 18-1 chance Nikim who was given a dream ride by Eric Legrix.
The double made it four winners and two seconds from just 15 runners for Yiu whose excellent start has seen seven horses join his stable this week.
'I only had the minimum of 10 horses when the season started so it was important to try and get off the mark as quickly as possible but I never dreamed things would go like this,' Yiu smiled. 'I know a number of the horses that moved to me this week have a problem or two but that is only to be expected at this stage.
'If I can get them to win then hopefully better horses and new horses will follow.
'But I won't let my good start go to my head as racing in Hong Kong can soon bring you back down to earth - sometimes with a bump.' Solar Century was ridden prominently by former multiple champion jockey Basil Marcus who underlined once again that he's as tough as he is talented.
Bouncing Basil they'll be calling him.
Marcus not only survived an horrific looking spill from Global King, who bled badly in running in the second, he dusted himself down and was straight back into the thick of things.
All he had to show for his shocking fall was a sticking plaster across the bridge of his nose and just as he did when coming a cropper on Space Rock at the backend of last season, he went on to ride a winner.
That success came on Yiu's Solar Century and knowing the indomitable Marcus, he'll be one of the first to arrive for trackwork this morning.
The French jockeys couldn't stop riding winners a couple of seasons ago. Now we have the South Africans.
Piere Strydom and Felix Coetzee have both won championships in their homeland and their performances last night showed just why.
Strydom put in yet another polished display to take the second on dirt demon Viva St Paul's. Strydom has now ridden 10 winners during a highly successful stint as a Club Jockey and is a near certainty to be back in some capacity next season, maybe for a six-month Club Jockey position.
Coetzee conjured a great late burst from the Brian Kan Ping-chee-trained Dashing Dragon to get up close home from outsider Hammerhead who was well ridden by improving claimer Sherie Kong in the third.
Dashing Dragon was Kan's 10th winner of the season and kept him one clear of his old sparring partner John Moore at the head of the trainer standings.
Moore was also on the mark. He took the last with the improving Certeza who clearly took to the dirt. Mind you his owner, Gabriel D'Azedo, loves the stuff having cheered his Jogador to many wins on the old Happy Valley equitrack.
Certeza kept Tony Cruz on Marcus' tail in the jockeys' championship while apprentice Peter Ho underlined he's a boy with a bright future with a wonderfully judged ride on Rambo for retaining trainer Peter Ng Bik-kuen in the opener.