Emotions were running high in the Sha Tin parade ring yesterday as champion sprinter Lucky Nine was farewelled by Hong Kong racing fans. Lucky Nine’s retirement was announced last month, and both trainer Caspar Fownes and regular rider Brett Prebble welled up as they spoke of their affection and admiration for the nine-year-old as he was given a rousing reception by the Sha Tin crowd. “I don’t mind admitting I got a little choked up,” Prebble said. “It was a lovely tribute, it was a fitting send-off for him. It’s a great way for him to go out and I can’t wait to visit him regularly.” Fownes admitted it was always going to be a tough day but that he is grateful for the many memories over his six-year career. “I really love him, he’s very special to me and my family and all the fans of Hong Kong,” he said. “He’s been a great racehorse with so much spirit and heart and character.” Lucky Nine will now head to Australia, where he will join Hong Kong greats Silent Witness, Bullish Luck, Sacred Kingdom and California Memory at Living Legends in Melbourne. Andrew Hawkins

Kei Chiong gains praise from hard marker Tony Millard after Gallant Rock triumph

Kei Chiong Ka-kei can sense the support growing from trainers as she rides her recent wave of success and a straight track win on Gallant Rock should ensure she is booked for even more speedy front runners. Gallant Rock’s win gave Hong Kong’s only female jockey a third win in four meetings and came after a midweek debut at Happy Valley that was hampered by bad barriers. “I do feel like I am getting better chances now,” said Chiong, who had six rides yesterday. “I am happy to be riding at both tracks now, and I am sure a win will come soon there as well.” Trainer Tony Millard can be a hard marker when it comes to his riders but gave Chiong full marks for her ride on Gallant Rock. “She rode him well - the weight off this horse’s back made all the difference,” he said. Michael Cox

Douglas Whyte justifies his status as family’s ‘go to’ man after Super Leader win

There was something familiar, and familial, about the pink and white colours on jockey Douglas Whyte before he broke Super Leader’s local maiden status in the final race. Whyte has been the “go to” jockey for owner Leung Lun-ping for years and is almost the only rider to win for him, including all of Secret Weapon’s five wins, both of Super Talent’s victories, as well as wins on Congratulation and Upgrading in the recent past. Super Leader ran in the ownership of Leung’s son, Sidney Leung Kwun-wa, but the result was the same. “A handy horse, he’s only a three-year-old so it’s all ahead of him,” Whyte said. “He’d been getting home well from the back but was much closer today from gate one - not by design, he just jumped so well and put himself there and I didn’t want to wrestle him back. I was worried he might get keen when he was so close but he handled it well.” Alan Aitken

Owner instructions key to Royale Elegance’s long-awaited second victory

Hong Kong owners get a bad rap for giving outlandish pre-race instructions from time to time but trainer John Moore said some astute input from Wong Poh-weng was instrumental to Royale Elegance’s second win at start 24. “Mr Wong suggested we have the horse that little bit closer and with the barrier we drew it allowed us to be there,” Moore said after Royale Elegance (Karis Teetan) scored his first win since April 2014. “The horse has been flashing home in his races but just getting there too late. The barrier certainly helped but so did some speed in the race. It was a nice ride from Karis, to put him in the right spot without the horse overracing. He has been a real ‘gonna’ horse - he is always going to win next start, but never seems to get it done. Today was the day that he finally delivered on the promise.” Michael Cox