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Ricky Yiu Poon-Fai

Double boosts Du Plessis' hopes

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 May, 2011, 12:00am

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With another three weeks until the Licensing Committee announces the riding arrangements for next season, Mark du Plessis will be hoping an overdue double is going to help his case for a return next term.

Du Plessis got his first winner for Ricky Yiu Poon-fai - part of the double for the trainer - and then steered Hot Shot to the gelding's fifth win for the season in the final event, picking up some momentum after a sluggish start to the stint.

'It's my daughter's birthday and she is here at the moment, as is my son, so it was a good day all round,' said du Plessis, who was particularly pleased to get King Of Reason home for Yiu.

'Ricky has given me plenty of support and I just haven't been able to get one home for him until today.'

Du Plessis had ridden King Of Reason at his second run when he had finished second on the all-weather surface, but he felt the trainer's decision to run him at 1,000m since had helped in yesterday's win.

'He was outpaced at 1,000m last time but I think that helped him to switch off and relax coming back to 1,200m today,' he said. 'He was able to find the line better as a result.'

Du Plessis finished off with the John Size-trained Hot Shot in the Class Two over 1,600m, and was happier with him when it rained than he was in running.

'I thought he had a great chance in the race when it rained but it didn't go to plan - he flew out of the gates but was very laid back and didn't have the pace to get forward,' the jockey said. 'In fact, I gave him a slap with the whip after 200m because he seemed so casual. But he just kept finding the line when it mattered.'

Du Plessis took his tally to four wins since his arrival at the end of March, and failed to make it a treble by only a head on Dr Win in the ninth.

Dr Win tried gamely over the final stages at his first start for almost four months, but Yiu's second winner, the heavily-backed Charmgold was much the fitter horse at the end of the 1,400m, backing up from last weekend, and he held on under South African rider Greg Cheyne.

'I haven't had many rides for Ricky - I think one before today and two today - so it's nice to have a win on the board for one more trainer,' said Cheyne, who has enjoyed a solid year with 19 wins. 'I didn't know much about Charmgold before the race, just what I've seen of him in races, but I noticed he has won before in the grade and he is a real trier.'

Like Du Plessis, Cheyne is hoping for a licence again.

'You hear so many rumours about who's in and who's out so I don't know and I'm just doing what I can for my cause by riding winners,' he said.