Lerner 'feels good' after first week
It may have only been a humble Class Four contest but for young Frenchman Yann Lerner, his win on Porter Ricks in the fourth event had all the feeling and euphoria of a much bigger result.
Lerner, 19, is the latest big thing in the world of French horsemen. He was champion apprentice in 2003 and was encouraged to find out for himself about the way racing operates in Hong Kong.
He's here on a short-term retainer to trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fie and was delighted to come up with a victory just one week into the fledgling partnership.
'To come away from your home country, to a totally different place like Hong Kong, getting a win like this is important,' Lerner explained.
'It felt really good, I was very excited.
'Ricky said to let the horse go forward from the wide barrier and if nothing else wanted to lead, then he said I could take it up.
'The horse was fitter after his run last week and responded well when I asked him for more in the straight,' he added.
Although the majority of winners on yesterday's nine-race card came home wider on the track, Lerner never left the paint on Porter Ricks ($68) before holding a half length margin over Robbie Fradd's mount Island Spirit. Opera Magic, ridden by Lerner's compatriot Olivier Doleuze, was an unlucky third after being strung up in traffic.
Lerner said the excellent local record of leading French jockeys - like Gerald Mosse, Doleuze, Eric Saint-Martin and Eric Legrix - had encouraged him to try his hand in Hong Kong.
'The French jockeys have had great success here and are well respected,' he said.
'So I thought this would help. Now that I have had my first winner, hopefully there are more to come.'