So on target to claim Qatar series

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 March, 2012, 12:00am


Apprentice Ben So Tik-hung achieved something on Wednesday night that even perennial champion Douglas Whyte has yet to achieve - he won a purebred Arabian race in Qatar.

So is Hong Kong's representative in the three-day Qatar Apprentice Jockeys' Invitation series at Al-Rayyan racecourse in Doha, and finished eighth in the first leg of the series on Tuesday night.

But So (pictured) was able to move up to second place after day two, partnering Nashmi to victory in the Pure Arabian Maiden Plate (1,600m) on the turf course. Always handy in running despite a wider draw, the four-year-old took the lead in the latter stages to score by a clear margin.

The 10 points awarded for victory put So in contention to win the series, sitting second and trailing Singapore-based youngster Razali Zawari going into the remaining contest leg.

The series was due to conclude late last night at the feature card of the three-day meeting, where Hong Kong-based Gerald Mosse and Neil Callan were also in action in the Emir's Sword and Emir's Trophy races.

Elsewhere in the region, things did not go so well for talented young British jockey William Buick on Wednesday night.

Buick, who competed in the 2009 Cathay Pacific International Jockeys' Championship at Happy Valley, was reported to have suffered a broken jaw in a nightclub incident in Dubai. Press reports in the United Kingdom were sketchy but stated Buick had earlier been in attendance at a farewell party hosted by Frankie Dettori for fellow rider Richard Hills, who retires after the World Cup meeting on March 30.

In other news, runners for the Hong Kong-Macau Trophy (1,400m) at Sha Tin next Saturday have been released, with handicaps headed by Macau's Viva Pronto, a shock 100-1 winner of the race for Gary Moore two years ago.

Tony Cruz, Hong Kong's most successful trainer in the annual interport races with three wins, again leads the challenge with Turf Express and Crown Witness, the highest-rated Hong Kong runner.