Lloyd extinguishes rivals to lead Dragon Boy to glory
South African-born jockey Jeff Lloyd produced the best ride of the night aboard Dragon Boy in the Pacific Ocean Handicap - and can feel slightly aggrieved that he was not invited to join the showcase of international jockey talent that headlined last night's meeting.
Lloyd led by example - literally - grabbing the first race of the night by the scruff of the neck in a bold front-running display.
In doing so he showed some of his less accomplished, but higher profile counterparts how to win races on the tight-turning city circuit.
'Howard [Cheng Yue-tin] was always going to try and slow the race up, so when I saw him take hold I just let Dragon Boy go to the front,' Lloyd said.
'The race suited him tonight because he doesn't quicken easily. If he can get to the front then he is hard to grind down.'
Trainer David Ferraris was full of praise for his long-time associate and the engineer of Dragon Boy's win.
'Jeff is a world-class rider and it is a little disappointing not to see him involved in the International Jockeys Championship,' Ferraris said.
'Jeff has been doing well for me and there is no doubt that South African riders are some of the best in the world.'
No South African has ridden in the series in recent history - with Douglas Whyte riding in the championship under the Bauhinia flag as Hong Kong champion - and Ferraris would like to see that change.
'To maintain the form that he has for this long is tremendous,' Ferraris said. 'I would certainly like to see him up there next year with the South African flag on his chest.'
Trainer Derek Cruz is also hoping Bobo Win can maintain his winning form into the twilight of his career - the remainder of the season. Bobo Win is 10 years old and will be compulsorily retired at the end of the season - but Cruz has warned that the old boy may not be done just yet.
'He is loving racing and we keep him fresh and don't do a lot with him on the track between races,' Cruz said.
'He is enjoying himself and loves his work, and I think he may have a couple of wins left in him before he is retired.' Bobo Win notched up his seventh win at start 77 last night and has been a terrific earner for connections during his long career - with over HK$6 million in prize money.
Trainer Dennis Yip Chor-hong also had reason to celebrate with a double from Loyal Army and Ming's Hero.
Yip was lucky enough to draw Ryan Moore in the third leg of the jockey's championship races - as he had previously made enquiries to have the English rider move to Hong Kong and join his operation.
Moore turned down the approach as he was already engaged by a stable in England, but repaid the trainer's faith with a last-stride win aboard Ming's Hero.
Yip's earlier success came with improving gelding Loyal Army, who claimed his third win over 1,200m in the America Handicap.
'Because of the draw we had to save him for the finish and not lead,' Yip said.
'It was not a strong field, but he still had to win the race and as he has had only ten starts I think there is still some more improvement in him.'