Shum full of praise for lightweight after sparkling victory on High Point
Vincent Sit Shing-kin can finally agree that hard work does indeed have its rewards, with the local lightweight winning his second race for the new term on High Point at Sha Tin yesterday and consolidating a blossoming partnership with trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing.
Sit has been riding a mountain of work for Shum and the trainer, in turn, has made good on a commitment to reward the jockey with some valuable raceday mounts.
As Shum explained in the wake of a sparkling victory by High Point in the Yan Chai Trophy (1,200m), that also meant saying 'no' to leading jockeys like Brett Prebble and Eric Saint-Martin to keep his word.
Sit, for his part, carried out the contract on High Point as well as any rider could, positioning the Spectatorial gelding in a forward spot and waiting until they were turned for home to round up the weak reeds in front.
From that point, the only two unknowns were the final dividend [he was thumped into $27.50] and the winning margin, which the judge measured to be 13/4 lengths over Dashing Thunder, who nosed debutant Enthused out of second money in a deceptive photo finish.
Shum, who also trained a double at the opening meeting last Sunday, said he was delighted that Sit had grown into the job and recalled a conversation between them at the end of last season.
'I was having a difficult time - it wasn't a good season for me - but Vincent was very loyal and kept helping me by riding as much work as he could,' Shum explained.
'He also won on Liverbird for me, which really pleased me and he gave the horse every possible chance that day.
'So this season, I promised him that if he kept up the same work ethic, I would reward him with good rides.'
Shum also revealed that he's gone back to basics with Sit, who still claims three pounds, in order to help him regain the confidence that saw him rated almost on par with Howard Cheng Yue-tin as apprentices.
'After each meeting, we go through the videos and talk about what went right and what went wrong,' Shum continued.
'I explained to Vincent what goes on behind the scenes in a stable, all the detail and planning and how a bad decision by a jockey can ruin months of hard work.
'I wasn't trying to put pressure on him, but to get him more involved and to understand the significance of things. And Vincent has responded very well. I'm pleased he's had this result today and I'm also pleased that High Point has been able to bounce back.'
High Point was a late scratching from his previous engagement in June after Saint-Martin expressed concern over the gelding's action on the way to the start.
'After that, we had him fully scanned and it showed a number of 'hot spots' on his hind legs,' Shum said. 'Nothing that required surgery, mind you, but just needed a bit of a rest and it came right.'
Sit later expressed his gratitude, as well as a degree of amazement at his flying start to the season.
'I came back early from the summer break and I've been riding a lot of work,' Sit said. 'Danny promised me rides if I worked hard and I really appreciate his support. It's just so nice getting on some nice horses that have a winning chance.'
Outside the winner, undoubtedly the horse to follow was John Size's Enthused. The Centaine gelding raced as Let's Migrate in Melbourne, where he won two races and finished second twice from four runs, and the four-year-old should progress significantly with this run under his belt.