Jack Wong Ho-nam has returned from injury this season to outride his claim and end up with a respectable record but still hopes to add to his win tally for former boss Me Tsui Yu-sak at Wednesday night’s final Happy Valley meeting of the season.
A serious back injury kept Wong sidelined through a two-month mid-season stretch but the 24-year-old has closed out strongly and has 24 winners.
“That injury slowed me down but I am happy with the results since I have been back,” Wong said. “It has been better than I had expected. I didn’t think I would graduate so soon. Now I will aim to get more rides from bigger stables.”
Wong has a ride in all eight races and although most are ranked as outsiders in early markets he feels a couple of his rides for Tsui have shown enough to surprise, particularly Starlit Knight in the Class Four Maverick Star Handicap (1,650m).
Starlit Knight won in Class Five four starts back, has been competitive in Class Four since and is backing up after a half-length second under Zac Purton last Wednesday night.
“Last time Zac got him to go forward, he was wide through the first turn and the horse went a little bit keenly,” Wong said.
“He can be like that in the mornings as well. I will try to get him to relax a little more in the early stages. Last time he used that energy early and only just got beaten. I think he should run well. His fitness isn’t a problem, the stable’s horses can run on the one-week break.”
Tsui’s three-year-old Namjong Namjong was well beaten at massive odds first-up but Wong said he has been encouraged by the chestnut’s trackwork ahead of the Class Four Kings Falcon Handicap (1,000m).
“I was on the horses next to him last time he worked but he worked very well. I think he can win soon, but he is still young and inexperienced so he will need things to go his way to win,” Wong said, comparing the gelding to Tsui’s underrated stable star New Asia Sunrise.
“He even looks like him, he has the big white face, but he has the heart like him too. New Asia Sunrise looks like the worst horse in the field, and his action and behaviour doesn’t look like Class Two standard, but he has a big heart like a Group horse.”