New kid on block makes dream start
A debut double to new apprentice Alvin Ng Ka-chun yesterday launched the young rider's career in dream fashion as the local trainers who booked the only 10-pound claimer reaped immediate rewards.
Ng drove Hinyuen Paladin to the early lead and then the winning post for new master Dennis Yip Chor-hong at just his third race-ride at Sha Tin, before repeating the trick on the Me Tsui Yu-sak's Just Fantastic, which completed a treble for the trainer.
'It was really big pressure, but the 10 pounds is a huge help and I think that is what made the difference in both my wins today,' Ng said.
'My boss [Yip] told me to try and lead on Hinyuen Paladin, we were under pressure a long way out from Darren Beadman on the outside, but the weight told at the finish and my horse was able to keep fighting.
'I really felt the pressure in the drive to the line with Darren, he is a top jockey and he kept me pinned down to the rail, but when my horse fought back to beat him it was a great feeling to win my first race,' he added.
Former master, trainer Lance Noble from Matamata, New Zealand, was a proud man as he handed over his prot?g?to new assigned trainer Yip.
'I'm pretty chuffed for Alvin and it has been great to be here to see him make such a great debut,' Noble said.
'To kick off like he has is a great achievement, and even though he's led and used his weight claim on both winners, he was able to ease off a little mid-race and showed his good judgement of pace which he has previously demonstrated in New Zealand.'
'I'm very pleased for both Alvin and the club, they put a lot into these young apprentices and it's great that their training programme is working so well, and great to be a part of it.'
Noble is now in charge of grooming another youngster from the Jockey Club's apprentice's school, Silver Wong Ho-nam, who has been at his Matamata stable for the past three months and is progressing well. Noble was also adamant Ng would keep his feet planted firmly on the ground, despite his heady success on debut and Yip sounds assured to make that happen.
'Alvin rode good today, but he has much more room to improve,' Yip said.
'He's still learning and he was on some good chances today, but really he is probably winning on his 10 pounds claim - I will teach him more.'
Ng's first success came on the heavily supported Hinyuen Paladin, who fought off the challenge of Shibala, before eventually posting a 13/4-length win over the David Hall-trained True Valour (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) in the HKU Medical Alumni Handicap (1,200m).
Ng then won on the all-weather surface aboard the Tsui-trained Just Fantastic, who led from barrier to post to claim the HKU Alumni Association Centenary Challenge Cup (1,650m) by 11/4 lengths over Vigor Delight (Vincent Ho).