Fifty Fifty blots perfect record in dramatic style

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 January, 2008, 12:00am

For a stable stalwart who has never put a foot wrong in his first 39 starts, Fifty Fifty burned all his credits in a single afternoon, putting jockey Jacky Tong Chi-kit in hospital and causing a crippling injury to an outrider pony.

Tong and trainer Caspar Fownes were mystified why Fifty Fifty, an experienced and reliable seven-year-old gelding, would suddenly turn rogue on the way to the start for the day's feature race, the Bauhinia Sprint Trophy.

But after dealing with a second jockey, Eddie Lai Wai-ming - twice - Fifty Fifty careered down the straight riderless and eventually ran into a running rail near the starting stalls at the top of the 1,000m straight.

Fifty Fifty was eventually declared a late scratching, and all bets on him were refunded.

The Jockey Club's executive director of racing, Bill Nader, said the refund had tallied HK$6.7 million and made an already low-volume betting race even less financially palatable for the Jockey Club.

Tong was taken to Prince of Wales Hospital at Sha Tin, but returned to the course at the end of the day with his arm in a sling to protect a dislocated thumb in his right hand. The jockey will be back to see the doctors today to have his injury further assessed. 'I hope I will be out for only two weeks,' Tong said optimistically when he left the track last night.

Tong's outcome was a good one compared with the mount used by one of the clerks of the course. When Fifty Fifty cannoned into him, he caused the outrider pony to break one of his front legs. Chief steward Jamie Stier said later the gallant grey horse was put down by a vet.

Fifty Fifty must, according to the stewards, perform satisfactorily in a pre-race parade before being allowed to enter for a race again.