David Ferraris is “over the moon” following the news son Luke will join the Hong Kong riding ranks next season as a mini-reunion looms for the famous South African racing family.
Luke will arrive in Hong Kong in August with his mother Pam, who has been stuck in South Africa for six months due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
“We were all just waiting for the news from the Jockey Club and now that it’s such good news, arrangements are being made,” said Ferraris, whose daughter Caroline is studying in Cape Town.
“Pam has been stuck in South Africa and she will come back with Luke, who I haven’t seen for at least a year and a half.”
Despite his tender age of just 19, Ferraris is convinced his son has the tools to cut it in one of the world’s toughest racing jurisdictions.
“He’s done really well, he’s got a thinking head on him and he really is a big-race jockey. We call him Cool Hand Luke and he doesn’t get the name for nothing,” the veteran trainer said.
The 57-year-old will be doing everything he can to ensure Luke – a two-time champion apprentice in South Africa with five Group Ones to his name – gets a flying start to the next phase of his career.
Gold Medallion (G1)— WR1 (@WorldRacing1) June 6, 2021
1200m , 400.000 ZAR, for 2yo
(2C Vercingetorix - Darling Moon, by Indigo Magic)
J : L.J. Ferraris
T : V. H. Marshall
O : Burns Racing
B : Oldlands Stud pic.twitter.com/fjIXWxQafY
“I’ll be desperately trying to get a couple ready for him to win on – I probably won’t be running too many from now until the end of the season,” he said.
“I will try to give Luke a chance to win on one or two of them next season. I will never ask him to ride something of mine that clearly hasn’t got a chance and he can get something else.”
On top of that, Ferraris hopes a childhood spent at Sha Tin will hold his son in good stead come the start of next season on September 5.
“He was a little boy growing up here and he was always with me on the track,” Ferraris said. “They all know him, even the Chinese trainers know him. It all boils down to a bit of support, that’s all he needs.
“He’s grown up with [Caspar Fownes’] kids and I’m hoping Caspar will give him a ride or two and I know Tony Millard will, so it’s not like he’s a complete stranger.
“I know this place is funny but let them see how he rides – they will all want to see how he rides and I’m hoping when they see how he rides he’ll get support.”
While Luke told the Post in January his dad will “let me know if he thinks I should have done something else”, David said it is the family patriarch – legendary ex-trainer Ormond Ferraris – that has been the most prolific source of feedback.
“Luke and I get on very well. He gets a lot of advice from his grandad, who takes a very keen interest,” he said.
“He speaks to him probably more often than I do with regards to races because he’s retired so he just watches Luke ride.
“If he thinks he can help him improve he’ll tell him and I think Luke has taken that advice really well and his riding has just improved.”
One galloper Ferraris isn’t saving for his son is Nitro Express, who chases back-to-back wins in the Class Four Silver Mine Bay Handicap (1,650m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
“If he’d drawn a gate I’d say absolutely [he could win again] but it’s going to be hard now because he’s drawn nine,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy but the horse is absolutely flying.”
Ferraris also saddles up Young Glory and Prince Of Bon Bon at the city circuit.