Vincent Ho Chak-yiu had the chance to reflect on the past with a personal milestone on Saturday but all the local jockey wanted to do was talk about the future of promising dirt specialist Ugly Warrior.
Ho brought up his 200th career winner with an all the way effort on Ugly Warrior – a three-year-old who is still flying under the radar somehow despite being three from three.
Maybe it is because of Ugly Warrior’s relatively diminutive stature for a sprinter – although his body weight was up nearly 30 pounds to 1,041 pounds on Saturday – or his stable’s low profile that has kept the horse soft in betting markets.
Ugly Warrior is a bit like his trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak in that way – small, but punching way above his weight when it comes to results.
Ho felt Saturday’s jump-and-run display was the gelding’s best yet and wasn’t afraid to make some big statements about the horse’s ultimate upside.
“I think he is the type of horse that [Tsui] could take to race in Dubai one day,” Ho said. “He is a really nice horse, and I don’t know if he will ever handle the grass, but it doesn’t matter because he is a super little dirt horse. He is only three and doing everything right, it’s amazing really.”
Ho said whatever Ugly Warrior lacks in stature he makes up for it with a “perfect mindset”.
“He is so relaxed until he gets in the gates and then he just switches on. He isn’t a big horse, but he moves beautifully. He has raced up on the speed and led again yesterday but you can ask him to take a sit, relax and he will. If he stays healthy he can keep winning.”
As far as his double century of winners was concerned, Ho said his new target was 250, when he will lose his two-pound claim, but for now he was nonplussed about how many wins he has.
“I never count that type of thing and I didn’t know that was close until somebody sent me a newspaper,” he said.
On Friday night, the 27-year-old won another race of sorts, when he teamed with Jockey Club-sponsored rider Clarissa Lyra to win the annual “Race of the Riders” show jumping event at the Longines Masters.
It was the second time Ho had won the event, which teams a jockey and a leading equestrian rider in a unique showjumping race.
“I really love the event,” Ho said. “It was nice to do it for the home team in front of the fans.”