We are less than three weeks into the off-season but there is still a lot happening in the Hong Kong racing world – here is a snapshot.
Ho collects a winner in Britain
Vincent Ho Chak-yiu enjoyed a career-best season in Hong Kong – winning the Tony Cruz Award as the leading local jockey – and he has taken his good form to Britain.
The 29-year-old is having a stint with Mark Johnston and secured a winner aboard the Keith Dalgleish-trained Forever A Lady at Ayr in Scotland on Monday.
“It’s good when I have the off-season because I can ride at different tracks and I can learn a lot more,” Ho said afterwards.
“It’s very different to Hong Kong because we only have Sha Tin and Happy Valley – although they have a different course each week, it’s still the same track.
“It’s a lot better to go around the world, especially in the UK. The horsemanship is really, really good. The history – you just can’t beat that. It’s a great place for me to learn.”
Building some Mo-mentum
Fellow jockey Dylan Mo Hin-tung is also overseas to further his career, spending time in the Australian state of Tasmania, and he has already made an impact.
He collected a double at his first meeting, guiding Wineglass Bay to victory at $71 before also saluting with Century Arrow at Spreyton last Sunday.
South African rider Aldo Domeyer has also tasted success in his home country, while Matthew Chadwick rode at the Macau Derby meeting.
Rawiller returns ‘a better person’
Nash Rawiller is back in action after serving his 15-month disqualification and he wasted no time returning to the winner’s circle.
The Australian, who was found guilty of receiving gifts or money in exchange for tips in Hong Kong last year, had two winners in his first meeting back at Kembla Grange on Thursday, July 25. It was probably fitting the name of the horse he rode to victory was Escaped.
In the lead-up to his return, Rawiller broke his silence on the ordeal which saw him interrogated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption as well as being prevented from leaving Hong Kong for five months.
“I guess it wasn’t just the shock of getting the 15 months at first, but obviously what came after that,” Rawiller told Australian radio station RSN.
Nash Rawiller rides a double at his first day back at Kembla— STEVE HEWLETT (@stevejoseph69) July 25, 2019
Had to pull out all stops to get this won over the line..
Outside lead in the @Dynamic_WONIT colours .( Red / White) @RadioTABAus pic.twitter.com/ZmSP5PCxsb
“Getting to the airport and about to get on a plane and being told I’m not going anywhere and having my passport suspended. I had one foot in the door. It was a bit of a shock.
“They investigated me for the next five months and I was held there with my passport taken off me.”
Rawiller admitted one of his first thoughts was the Chris Munce situation – the jockey served 20 months in jail over the “tips for bets affair” last decade.
“It is the first thing that comes to mind,” Rawiller said. “I knew what I’d done and knew I probably shouldn’t be in the position I was in, but I still had to go through the process.
“And you have that unknown little factor that you don’t know what someone else has said or done.
“I kept confident the whole way through that everything would be OK but they were very trying times obviously. I just had to let it all play out. It’s probably made me a better person.”
Congratulations to Luke Ferraris - Champion Apprentice for the 2018/2019 Season— NHA South Africa (@NHASouthAfrica) August 1, 2019
Total Wins - 81 from 845 Rides (9.6% Win Rate)
Total Places - 309 (36.6% Place Rate)
Total Stakes Earned - R9,378,438
Gold Circle Racing// Candiese Marnewick pic.twitter.com/iCEwxiutbO
Hewitson collects South African title
Talented youngster Lyle Hewitson will make his way to Hong Kong full of confidence after securing his second straight South African jockeys’ championship.
The 21-year-old, who collected 218 winners for the season, beat rival Muzi Yeni in a tight finish to claim the prize.
Hewitson now heads to Hong Kong to further bolster the riding ranks after securing a six-month contract.
Meanwhile, Luke Ferraris – son of trainer David – was crowned South Africa’s champion apprentice after booting home 81 winners.
Whyte wastes no time building stable
New trainer Douglas Whyte is wasting no time building his team for the start of the season with 38 horses already on his books on Thursday, August 1.
The highest-rated horse is California Fortune (104), who comes across from the Tony Cruz yard, while he also has Uncle Steve – the last horse he rode in a race.
In total, Whyte has 23 stable transfers this off-season – 19 more than any other trainer. It looks like he’s got plenty of support from owners and will hit the ground running.
Signing up to kick Ho out of Jockey Club
A campaign to have Junius Ho Kwan-yiu’s Jockey Club membership taken away is underway after the pro-Beijing lawmaker was accused of supporting the Yuen Long gang rampage on July 21.
A group is collecting signatures requesting the Jockey Club to terminate Ho’s membership.
Ho is part of the ownership of the Cruz-trained Hong Kong Bet, who won two starts last season, and the group wants the horse to be withdrawn from all races going forward.
Wedding delight for Schofields
Love is in the air for jockey Chad Schofield and his partner Hannah after they tied the knot in Koh Samui last month.
They looked stunning as they got married in the picturesque setting, with fellow Hong Kong-based jockey Regan Bayliss one of the groomsmen.
Best wishes to the couple from the Post’s racing team.