Starke gets the best out of Sprinter
German jockey Andrasch Starke was almost apologetic as he broke the ice for his new Hong Kong stint with an overdue win on Sprinter.
Starke, who left in 2002 with a six-month ban for a cocaine positive, has made it back to Hong Kong at long last as retained rider for Andy Leung Ting-wah, but his victory came for rival trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fie.
'I'm sorry it wasn't for Andy but that's how it goes - my rides for him so far have run well but haven't won yet. I am very pleased to have a winner at my second meeting anyway because I know how important it is here to have some luck,' said Starke.
'In Europe, I have my agent, I have my stable and the rides are there. It's very tough here with so many jockeys.'
Though Sprinter had not won since early September 2002, the win came as no surprise to the stable but Yiu's retained rider, Yann Lerner, could not make the horse's 119-pound handicap.
'Actually this horse was always very consistent last season even though he didn't win,' Yiu explained.
'One day he finished second to Tony Cruz's horse, Wind Winner, who is probably headed for Class One so it made Sprinter's form look good for Class Three.'
Sprinter began like a startled gazelle, jumping so clearly in front of the field that he astonished both rider and trainer.
'That gave me a real shock, because I had told the jockey to ride him cold and he would run on,' Yiu said. 'But after that he let him slide back smoothly and got him travelling.
'I thought Sprinter's form was good today and it was a matter of the jockey performing, which he did.'