Rookie Shum loaded with firepower for step into the limelight
Lessons learned under master trainer Ivan Allan will be put to the test as Danny Shum Chap-shing steps out under his own banner this season, but a stampede of owners has given him every chance to prove his mettle.
Shum, 42, has been by far the best supported of the season's three new trainers and will almost have the 'house full' sign up when he kicks off on Sunday.
'I will have around 55 horses to start and I have been very lucky to get this kind of support from owners in my first year,' Shum said yesterday.
Stepping out on his own after eight years with Allan, during which he played a leading role in the successes of world champion Fairy King Prawn, evergreen Indigenous and more recently the Derby and Hong Kong Mile winner Olympic Express, Shum is well aware that anything he has done before will not count for much if his own results don't happen.
On Sunday, he took out two of the turf trials at the Pre-Season Carnival and is trying to have his horses forward enough to make an early mark. 'I'm hoping to have four runners on the first day and would love to win a race,' he said. 'You know how Hong Kong is - it can be a funny place. It's important to get a quick win, whether you're a jockey or a trainer.
'I don't have any particular figure I'm aiming at for the season, but I'll just be trying to win as many races as I can and right from the first meeting.'
Many casual observers figured Shum might receive a few horses from his old boss, but there will be only one former Allan horse in his yard - the middle-grade sprinter Well Best.
'And I have known his owner for quite a long time,' Shum said. 'But some of Mr Allan's owners have introduced me to friends who are now owners and they have encouraged their friends to give me horses, so I am very grateful for their help.'
Shum was the inseparable work partner of 2001 joint-world champion sprinter Fairy King Prawn, and there is one clear Fairy King Prawn connection among his acquisitions in the French three-year-old, Ka Ka Win.
The Woodman three-year-old was bought in France on the advice of Marie Yoshida, who also advises Fairy King Prawn's owner, Phillip Lau Sak-hong. The Yoshida-owned Shadai Farm is pre-eminent among stud farms in Japan and Shum has formed a fine connection with the family.
'Marie and her husband have been wonderful to me. I've stayed at their farm and would love to do well with Ka Ka Win,' he said. The three-year-old failed to win in five starts in France, and his only placing was second of two runners in his two-year-old debut, but he has always raced exclusively in Group company.
With horses like last season's Derby contestant Super Blitz and former Derby placegetter Helene Vitality, Shum has some ammunition for higher grade races, but his highest hopes for a big race presence lie with a new horse, another three-year-old from France who raced as Mille Millions.
'He is still in quarantine,' he explained. 'I don't think he has a rating yet, but Mille Millions ran three times, all at a mile, for a second and then two wins and he looks a nice young horse.'