Peter Ng 'inherits' Wong's stable after appeal fails
Peter Ng Bik-kuen will take over the training of Alex Wong Siu-tan's team after the latter failed in his appeal against the severity of a two-month suspension yesterday. Ng will take on the stable of 25 horses as caretaker, swelling his stable numbers to 56, when Wong's ban starts on Sunday.
'I think the Licensing Committee was conscious of minimising the interruption to the horses' routines and Peter Ng is in the same stable block as Alex Wong Siu-tan,' said Jockey Club director of racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges. 'Of course, we also needed a caretaker trainer who had sufficient room to take on this number of extra horses and also a trainer who is not experiencing any difficulties with making the club's performance criteria this season. Peter Ng met all those needs.'
Three declared starters and a reserve for tomorrow's Sha Tin fixture will remain under Wong's banner for that meeting, but owners of the four horses can run or withdraw them. They are Happy Fortune (race six), School Days (reserve, race six), Glorious Light (race seven), and Greenmore (race 10).
Certain conditions dealing with the transfer of horses between yards have also been relaxed, allowing Wong's owners to move their horses to another trainer without paying the usual fees.
Wong and assistant trainer Chris Cheung Ting-pong received separate bans a fortnight ago after the failure of the stable to report a bleeding attack suffered by Martial Hero after he galloped at the trackwork session on February 7.
Wong was suspended on February 14 after pleading guilty to a charge under Rule 50(2), dealing with his responsibility for all matters pertaining to the running of his stable. He has been training under a stay of proceedings pending yesterday's appeal against the penalty rather than the guilty finding.
The appeal panel yesterday dismissed the appeal and ordered Wong's deposit forfeited to the Race Fund.
Cheung, who did not appeal, was suspended for one month under a rule dealing with his having contributed to a breach of the rule by Wong. The Jockey Club last week appointed Chow Hon-cheong as deputy assistant trainer-work rider to the Wong Siu-tan stable until March 13 and he will continue to work in a similar capacity.
'His role will be overseen now by Peter Ng instead of Alex Wong, but essentially he will have the same position as he had before yesterday's appeal,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said.
In other news, Andreas Suborics has received an early finish to his contract with the Club and is returning to his base in Germany. 'Like Jamie Spencer and Christophe Soumillon, his retaining owner in Germany has asked that Andreas return a little early with the spring racing in mind,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said.
'Unfortunately, this is something that is a constant with the top European riders. Even Michael Kinane has warned the Club there is a slight possibility he may be required by Aidan O'Brien on the same weekend as our Derby and would in that case have to make himself unavailable here. 'The good news is that Frankie Dettori is very keen to come for the Derby meeting.'
Dettori, who won the Bauhinia Sprint on Firebolt at the sprinter's Hong Kong debut last season, may get the chance to team up with the horse again in the Chairman's Sprint Prize.