Ketamine positives condemn jockey

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2011, 12:00am


Troubled apprentice jockey Kevin Leung Ka-wai's career ended yesterday when he failed to 'show cause' as to why he should be allowed to keep his licence after a number of positive tests for the banned substance ketamine.

Leung, 22, and his supervising trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak, both tendered submissions at a licensing committee hearing, but failed to convince the panel Leung's licence should be renewed, and his career is now officially over, pending appeal.

Leung was suspended for six months after he returned a positive urine sample during a random drug test after the Happy Valley meeting on September 8 last year.

However, as a requirement of that penalty, Leung was screened prior to his scheduled return date on March 8, but again tested positive to ketamine and was stood down until further inquiries had been made. Those avenues have now been exhausted, and Leung was last night unsure of his next move.

'I will talk to my boss [Me Tsui] to see if I should appeal,' he said. 'I don't know what my future will be if I do not ride again.'

Leung (pictured) rode 14 winners in total, all last season, and only had six rides this season before testing positive.

He joins Marco Chui Kwan-lai as the second Hong Kong rider to be banned for ketamine use.

Like Leung, Chui was suspended for six months for his first offence, but then tested positive within two months of returning to the saddle, earning a year-long suspension for his second breach of the prohibited substances rule and ultimately ending his career.

Jockeys are not the only ones proving a ketamine headache for the Club. Last week the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Shahjee was disqualified from a win on March 20 for testing positive to the problem drug.

Yiu was later cleared of wrongdoing after it was revealed the mafoo, or stable assistant, responsible for the horse, had inadvertently transferred a small quantity of the drug to the animal via physical contact. The mafoo's employment has also been terminated and the horse's owner stripped of the prize money.

Where one career ends, another begins, and the new kid on the block, Alvin Ng Ka-chun, is set to arrive in Hong Kong shortly to replace Leung and begin his apprenticeship.

Ng has been the wonderkid of the New Zealand riding ranks in recent years, punching out 68 winners and reducing his claim from 3 kilograms to 1kg since joining the Lance Noble stable at Matamata two seasons ago.

It is understood Ng will resume riding in Hong Kong as soon possible, in order to fill the now-vacant 10-pound claiming role in the local apprentice ranks.