So takes blow from Lucky Leon on the chin

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 March, 2011, 12:00am

Apprentice Ben So Tik-hung moved within one win of dropping to a five-pound claim after one of the most eventful days of his brief riding career.

So rode his 44th winner on Open Sesame for Tony Cruz in the third race, then stewards opened an inquiry into his ride on Deposer an hour later before his race seven mount, Lucky Leon, sent him to Prince Of Wales hospital with a nasty whack to the jaw. So was left prostrate on the ground behind the barriers after Lucky Leon reared and struck So with his head and the horse had to be withdrawn as So was stretched away.

He was cleared of injury or concussion at the hospital and was already back at Sha Tin before the final event was run, but there was another blow coming there.

Stewards took evidence from So and from trainer Peter Ho Leung before they adjourned their inquiry into his tearaway leading role on Deposer in the fifth.

Deposer led by several lengths through the middle stages, with the strong pace anticipated in betting with a concerted move for run-on galloper Horseshoe Fortune (Alex Lai Hoi-wing), who finished off strongly to win. Deposer bled from both nostrils and ultimately dropped out last.

But the bright spot for So was winning on Open Sesame for Cruz, for whom So had ridden only five times previously and only once this season.

'The horse is in the form of his career and I like this boy - Ben followed instructions to the letter,' said Cruz. 'The horse has lost his early speed and I told him to just sit and wait out the back, don't get bumped and just let him finish off.'

So will be declared for runners at Happy Valley on Wednesday, but he will have to undergo another doctor's examination.