It took him 315 days and 254 rides but Jack Wong Ho-nam is finally a winner again after booting Skyey Supreme to victory with a well-judged front-running ride at Sha Tin on Saturday afternoon.
Wong ended a drought dating back to June last year and finally hit the board in 2020-21 at the season’s 70th meeting.
“I’m happy because it’s a winner but I’m more relieved than happy because it’s almost the end of the season and I only have one win so I’m on the bottom of the list,” said Wong.
“I really appreciate the trainers and owners who still give me a chance on their horses and today I got the draw, I got the weight and the circumstances gave me a nice [trip] and the horse won the race.”
Wong’s win was the 86th of his Hong Kong career, which began under the tutelage of Me Tsui Yu-sak in 2015, and leaves Victor Wong Chun as the last remaining winless jockey this term.
But as happy as he was with the result, Wong was at least equally as realistic after admitting it dawned on him in all the way back in December just how badly he needed a winner, prompting him to hit the reset button.
“At the end of last year, around December, I was struggling. I was under a lot of pressure because me and Victor were the only jockeys that hadn’t got a winner and I haven’t been that late to get a winner [before],” Wong said.
“I was stressed but a week later I tried to step back [and refocus] because I already had nothing to lose so I just started from the beginning. I started from the bottom again. I did all the fitness, all the trackwork, I tried to talk to the trainers and do as much as I could do.
“I knew I couldn’t get the good rides, it’s very hard for me to ask the owner to give me a good ride – I understand the situation.
“I just got whatever rides I could get and [tried to] give them a surprise and after that they might give me a bit better ride.”
Heading to the races with only three or four rides has been a common occurrence for Wong this season and he has only ridden 10 runners that have started single-figure odds.
He doesn’t expect one winner to change things much in a jurisdiction where owners avoid struggling jockeys like the plague, but he hopes it’s the first step in the right direction.
“It’s not nothing but it’s still not easy. They may see my confidence may be back but I probably need at least another winner,” he said.
Skyey Supreme was sent out a $20.75 chance in the Class Three Chamomile Handicap (1,650m) on the all-weather track, with Wong taking the Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained six-year-old straight to the front from barrier three.
The gelding led comfortably throughout in a race that was run 1.66 seconds inside standard, kicking on the home turn and streaking away to win by two and a quarter lengths from Alexis Badel aboard Michael Chang Chun-wai’s Smart Folks.