Licensing Committee takes chance on longshot Wong
The Licensing Committee certainly threw out a surprising result in judging that Terry Wong Chi-wai's ticket to ride should be renewed next season.
Good luck to the lad, who by all accounts handled himself well in preparing for the inquiry. And somebody has to warm up those horses not fit enough, fully acclimatised or in some other way unfancied for success - 63 of Wong's 179 rides this season have been 99-1 or longer and only 15 of them have been in the 10-1 or shorter region of the market that we know produces 80 per cent of the winners.
A surprising decision, perhaps, but we can't bring ourselves to believe the scuttlebutt that the rationale behind that decision was that Mark Du Plessis was relicensed despite receiving a 'reasonable and permissible' penalty against his name and the view that such a thing had been the major issue against Wong (pictured) as well.
And the reason we don't believe that would be the rationale is because that would not only be surprising but foolish and embarrassing for the Licensing Committee.
The basis for that 'show cause' recommendation by the stewards was what might be termed Wong's 'body of work' - 25 careless riding offences in his 1,810 rides, plus the reasonable and permissible measures suspension, just 10 wins from his last 500 rides, two from his last 208 rides and only one from 179 mounts this season.
It simply doesn't bear comparison with the record of Du Plessis - who himself must have been borderline for next season on form - but then, as we said earlier, we can't believe that just because both had a reasonable and permissible measures suspension recently that the Licensing Committee would see any similarities between their cases. That would be plain stupid.
Let's hope those pledges of support from owners and trainers, that Wong took into his hearing, turn into real rides in 2011-12, but those promises are usually forgotten.
It's hard to escape the feeling that Wong, the stewards and the club will be back in the same spot 12 months from now.