Rising apprentice jockey Way Leung has the air of a young man who knows the grass is definitely greener on his side of the fence. And three months of experience with Ken Callaghan in Australia has had everything to do with that. Leung was planted into the lower echelons of Australian racing, often on fairly rough tracks and even rougher horses. It's a process that most successful Australian jockeys go through at some stage, but very different to the path apprentice jockeys come along in Hong Kong. 'I got to ride on a lot of different racecourses,' was one of Leung's comments about his Australian trip, but he stopped diplomatically short, according to Callaghan. 'Way thought we were mad,' the trainer laughed yesterday. 'We travelled to the races at Wagga one day - about three hours driving. Way said he could have gone all around Hong Kong twice in that time.' Callaghan, an extremely capable trainer based in the countryside well away from the big city stables and glamour tracks, was probably the ideal man to take on a man from a different culture - and he believes Leung was the ideal apprentice to have sent around the world to broaden his horizons. 'Way is a terrific kid, very polite and a hard worker - I don't think he has ever worked so much in his life,' Callaghan said. 'Some days here, he would be out of bed to ride the morning gallops at 5.30 then we'd have to drive for hours to get to a race meeting. When the meeting was over, we'd drive back to the stables and he'd get to bed after 10.30 at night before having to rise again early the next day. 'He had some very long days here, often without much reward as far as riding a winner, and I think it made him appreciate the system in Hong Kong so much more. Probably did him good.' Easy Star's win on Saturday, Leung's first victory since his return last week, displayed his new-found strength and that came as no surprise to Callaghan, who was thrilled to learn of his early success. 'Way was lacking a bit of strength when he got here but he worked very hard, he got no favours, and he was riding probably 10 horses a morning for me,' the trainer said. 'After a couple of weeks, though, he strengthened up noticeably and I was happy to put him up on any of our horses.' Callaghan was particularly impressed by Leung's balance in the saddle, which he felt was superior to the usual Australian apprentices at the same stage of their training. It was also one of the two aspects of his riding that Leung himself felt he had advanced during his stay Down Under. 'I thought I improved my balance and also using the whip,' Leung said. 'I used the whip more in Australia, so I got better with the practice.' Leung said on his return that Callaghan had been 'like a father' to him during his stay, taking him back over replays of his rides after meetings to offer him guidance. In addition, the lad had some good, steady tradesmen as mentors amongst his rival riders, too, making mention of Matthew Cahill and Grant Buckley. And recent Hong Kong visitor Corey Brown also took Way under his wing when the apprentice made a non-riding visit to Sydney racing. Way rode six winners and around 20 place-getters from 50 rides in Australia, an admirable record after starting as a complete unknown. 'I think a lot of people were shy about putting him on winning chances, which is a problem for all apprentices, and he rode some real slow ones at times, so his effort here was probably even better than it looks,' Callaghan said. But clearly Leung was much happier with his third winner of the season in Hong Kong when Easy Star saluted on Saturday. He was back in the top class this time, where pressure is the name of the game. 'In Australia, the jockeys really just went from about the 600m in races, but in Hong Kong, they go all the way,' he observed. Jockey Club racing director Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges is confident that Leung - the first 10-pound claimer to ride for some time - will get the necessary support from trainers - and the win for Tony Millard supports that view. The club has every intention of continuing to send apprentice riders to Australia for experience but Callaghan echoed Engelbrecht-Bresges' thoughts about future trips. 'I would definitely take on another guy in this situation,' he said. 'But it won't always be as easy. Way wanted to learn - off the track as well because his English improved enormously while he was here - and owners were able to be swayed into giving him a chance but it was not easy. 'Another guy might not have got that support and the same kind of practice riding in races. And the Jockey Club probably needs to keep that in mind.'