Yiu chases local honours with Valley treble
First-season trainer Ricky Yiu underlined that he is one of the finds of recent years with a fantastic treble at last night's Happy Valley meeting. Yiu, who started the season with just nine horses as he waited anxiously for 10 new ones to arrive, scored with Everbright in the local riders' affair, Bicycle in the fifth and Laser Star in the final race to record his 27-1 three-timer. The former assistant to Geoff Lane and Eddie Lo has now sent out 18 winners in a brilliant first campaign and is only four off Wong Tang-ping in the race for local training honours. He's also seen his stable numbers grow from that initial band of nine old crocks to a much more elite corps of 53.
Next season he will have a full stable. 'Put it like this. There were a lot of empty spaces when I first started but there aren't so many gaps in my stable now,' he smiled after watching Everbright bolt home under the vigorous and not to be underestimated local jockey Rambo Tse. Yiu has not just produced the goods on the racetrack, his horses also look terrific. 'But I don't have any secrets,' Yiu said.
'I don't think I feed them that differently from anyone else but I do try to give them all plenty of work.' Everbright bounded home under Tse and has improved significantly since joining Yiu and that has been another feature of his training. There's hardly a horse in his care that hasn't progressed. Bicycle is an even better example than Everbright. He's virtually a different horse and the way he has progressed he could win in Class Five when tackling farther than last night's mile trip. Bicycle was ridden by the classy French jockey Eric Legrix who is himself finishing the season with a flourish. Legrix went on to complete a back-to-back double when making all the running on the improving Raymondo who has been patiently brought back from a knee operation by battling local trainer Wylie Wong to win two of his last three starts and run a short head second on the other occasion.
Wong has managed five winners this season but has collected together a very talented team of griffins which should see him do much better next season. Rambo was also in double form as he was on board Yiu's Laser Star for a huge win in the final event to take himself to double figures for the season. Laser Star is an absolute freak at the Valley. He was slowly away and had to make one run to get up on a fierce pace set by Speedstar and Gold Yue Yee and then another to take the lead turning into the top bend. From there he railed like a greyhound and it is hard to think of another horse who handles the new track better than he. For Rambo the double could hardly have been more timely as it follows a split with the other promising first-season trainer, Andy Leung.
Rajput finally added to an early-season defeat of Basketball Leader when taking the feature Sassoon Challenge Cup for Lawrie Fownes and Damien Oliver. Fownes said: 'With any luck he could have won three this season.
'We may now let him take his chance in the Champions and Chater Cup.' Fownes also sent out Cricket Lord for an improved fourth in this feature event and now that he is over some troublesome lameness he could be aimed at the Queen Mothers Cup. Success Partners, the odds-on favourite, was shuffled back after being slightly squeezed at the start and never looked the winner after that, though he did battle on for third.
His stablemate, Sterling Town, was checked down the back straight when the pace-setting Fortune Leader fell back in his face.