Ng's biggest fans in no doubt he's ready
Apprentice jockey Alvin Ng Ka-chun will make his long-awaited Hong Kong debut at Sha Tin on Sunday with two of his biggest fans - New Zealand trainer Lance Noble and his wife, Lee - cheering him on.
The Nobles have not only helped shape Ng's riding career over the past two years, but have also been influential in shaping the 21-year-old outside of racing - and the Kiwi couple played the role of doting parents as Ng was presented to the press yesterday with his new master, Dennis Yip Chor-hong, at his side. 'Alvin has matured a lot, both as a rider and as a young man since joining us in New Zealand and I believe he has the makings of a very good jockey,' Lance Noble said.
'He has a very pleasant manner and, apart from being a good employee, has become part of our family and a very popular person in the New Zealand racing community.'
Ng embraced life in New Zealand, taking full advantage of his new surrounds and friendships to try his hand at skydiving, fishing and hunting.
Noble threw his full support behind the southern hemisphere learning experience, legging Ng aboard all his best chances and helping him bag 69 winners from his 723 rides.
The top trainer also enlisted the support of former champion Kiwi rider Lance O'Sullivan, who was at that time master to current Hong Kong apprentice Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, in helping Ng to become a better rider.
'I asked Lance whether he would sit down and go through a few of Alvin's rides on the video tape to give him a few pointers,' Noble recalls. 'At that time, Vincent Ho was still in New Zealand riding at his stable, and Lance told me later that Vincent wasn't very happy that his boss had been helping a competitor.'
If Ho is worried about the competition, he should be.
Staff at the Jockey Club's Apprentice School rate Ng as the most promising talent to come out of the programme and, with a minimum riding weight of 103 pounds, he will be in demand with his 10-pound claim.
'Alvin has a very ambitious side to him and has a strong desire to succeed,' Noble said.
'If he follows the same path, I don't see why he won't be highly competitive in Hong Kong racing for a long time to come.''
Ng will have five rides on Sunday, including three runners for Yip.