Battling trainer adds another winner to the list as he fights to keep his licence

What’s in a name? Well, maybe the calories have bulked Fish N’ Chips up this season but the added strength saw trainer Almond Lee creep closer to his 15-win target for the season. Lee needs to satisfy the Jockey Club performance criteria or face a show cause hearing for his licence but Fish N’ Chips (Keith Yeung Ming-lun) added win number nine in the opener yesterday. “The horse is 60 pounds heavier this season and he is better, stronger for it but I really give credit for the win to Joao Moreira and Ryan Moore – when they battled hard with each other on the two favourites, they got softened up and set it up for my horse to finish over them,” Lee said. “This horse has a lot of heart but limited ability.”

Trainer Richard Gibson breaks long run of outs with “ugly” ride from Neil Callan

Neil Callan didn’t earn any points for style as he threw Planet Giant over the line for his maiden victory but nobody gets a cheque for that anyway. The jockey did everything right until he dropped his left rein inside the final 150m and almost looked like he was knitting as he tried to regather it, but crucially the Irishman also didn’t miss a beat riding out Planet Giant in a tight finish. “Neil Callan has never been worried about style – it was all about his efficiency and ability to get horses running,” said trainer Richard Gibson, who has only recently taken Planet Giant over and the gelding was a welcome drought breaker for the yard. “It showed his grit and guts – Callan’s a strong jockey and dug deep to the get the horse home.”

Ryan Moore winless on first day of riding stint, but around the mark all day

Champion jockey Ryan Moore finished his first day as a Hong Kong club jockey empty-handed as far as winners go but physically better for the run and not altogether unhappy. Moore had not ridden since winning two of the four majors on Longines international day at Sha Tin, December 13th, and hadn’t had a great deal of time to acclimatise either. “I’m still a bit jet-lagged and that will get the cobwebs out,” he said after going closest to success in the early part of the day but all around the results all afternoon. Moore fell short by only a half length on Gallant Rock in the first, while Novel Start went even closer, failing by just a head to catch Planet Giant in race two and further minor placings followed on Hammer King, Industrialist Way and Presidentparamount, but without any of them really threatening victory.