First victory leaves German smiling
GERMAN Peter Schiergen left Sha Tin last night with a smile as wide as the Rhine after cruising to his first Hong Kong victory on Alex Wong Yu-on's highly promising griffin All The Glory in the opening event.
Schiergen, Europe's most prolific jockey after a season which saw him surpass the legendary Sir Gordon Richards' tally of 269 for a single campaign, won eased down by 31/2 lengths from the odds-on favourite We Know When with Port Hope a further 23/4 lengths back in third.
Schiergen, here for a month, could not have timed his winner any better.
'It is a proud day for me,' he said. 'I am so happy to ride this winner and to do it in front of so many visitors from Germany.' Racing is growing in popularity all the time in Germany.
Not only is the likable Schiergen helping to give it more and more column inches in the sporting press with his exploits but horses such as Lando are flying the flag all round the globe, running top races in the Arc De Triomphe and then winning the Japan Cup.
'I've had a lot of support from all the trainers since I came here and today I thought this horse was a very exciting ride for me,' Schiergen said.
'He had been very well prepared and has a very good attitude.' Trainer Alex Wong Yu-on habitually finds an exciting private purchase griffin.
In the past he has been responsible for such brilliant first-time-out winners as Deerfield, Winning Chance and Supreme Monarch and much of this is due to the extensive network of bloodstock agents he has built up around the world.
One of his long-term owners explained: 'The good thing about Alex is that when you want to buy a private purchase griffin he knows exactly where to go and who to deal with.
'He concentrates on preparing them when they arrive and puts us owners in touch with absolute top quality agents that can be relied upon to deliver the goods.
'And deliver the goods they do, as can be seen by the stream of brilliant griffin winners Alex has sent out.' There is plenty of stamina on All The Glory's dam side but this massive, deep-girthed colt has always shown plenty of speed.
Yesterday, he could be named the winner turning for home and it is tempting to suggest that he may well turn out to be just a tad better than Chop-Chop who has already won twice in griffin company this season for Wong Tang-ping.
Alan Munro reported that the runner-up, We Know When, was still inexperienced in the run and hung while Port Hope, a lovely athletic son of Grosvenor but still only a Southern Hemisphere two-year-old, will be all the better for the outing.
That remark applies also to Ivan Allan's Lucky Partners who looked distinctly burly in the paddock but kept on well to the line as did David Oughton's Plenty Success and Brian Kan Ping-chee's Mr Brinker.
Kan's other runner, Dragon Warrior, went a fair bit better than on his debut and looks the type who will be winning next season.