Lui loses 10-pound claim after treble
Dicky Lui Cheuk-yin backed up from a double last weekend to snare the first three-timer of his fledgling career, outriding his 10-pound claim and showing there has been improvement in at least one key area of his skill set.
One aspect of Lui's riding that has come under particular scrutiny is his ability to get horses to jump on terms and David Hall had a simple, but firm, instruction for Lui on El Grande that could be summarised in four words: "Don't miss the start." The apprentice more than obliged, gaining a key box-seat spot in the run.
It was Lui's first win for Hall in 10 starts and the Australian trainer admitted he was taken aback when he saw the position the youngster had gained from gate two.
"I didn't tie him down on where to be and I was actually a bit surprised that he was as close to the lead as that," Hall said. "But I made a good point to him, to take advantage of that gate and don't miss the start."
After moving past 20 wins, Lui will now claim seven pounds for the rest of the season, but it was the full 10 pounds of relief that Hall felt was key for El Grande's second win this season.
"He was pretty well proven over the track and distance but take the 10 pounds off and get barrier two, it looked like a really nice race for him," he said. "But for Dicky to get him to jump like that and put him in the position he did, then he was going to be very hard to beat."
Lui now looks likely to take out the champion apprentice title. He moved to 21 wins at the end of the day, four clear of Alvin Ng Ka-chun.
Peter Ng Bik-kuen supplied two of Lui's winners - griffin Golden Deer and straight-track specialist Dane Patrol.
A tip from a rival jockey helped Lui with the finicky Dane Patrol.
"Someone gave me the secret to him, you can't pull on him," Lui said. "You just have to let him relax, but he is not an easy ride - you can't upset him."
Golden Deer, who had been to the races twice, won despite racing greenly, or as Ng put it: "Weaving up the straight like a snake."
Ng is approaching compulsory retirement at the end of the season, but said he wouldn't be using up Golden Deer for his own sake.
"Whoever gets him is very lucky to have him," Ng said. "To win another race for me is great but not at the cost of the horse's future. That wouldn't be fair to the owner and it is not fair to the horse himself. Let's look at what is best for the horse.
"He needs time to mature. Definitely after a spell, he will put on some condition and get some strength."