Vincent Ho Chak-yiu is itching to get back in the saddle after an untimely suspension compounded his uncharacteristically slow start to the season but how soon that happens is very much in the lap of the weather gods.
Just days after Tropical Storm Lionrock dumped 488mm of rain on Sha Tin, Tropical Cyclone Kompasu is creating genuine doubt around whether Wednesday night’s Happy Valley meeting will be able to go ahead.
The Hong Kong Observatory raised the typhoon signal No 8 on Tuesday afternoon and Jockey Club officials are expected to decide early on Wednesday if the races can continue as planned.
Should Ho get the chance to resume his season at the midweek meeting, he is determined to kick-start a campaign that has so far only netted three wins from 59 rides at a strike rate of 5 per cent.
“Finally I’m back, it’s taken ages and I’m happy to be back. Now I need to try and find some more winners, I’ve started a bit slow,” Ho said.
“I need to find more good rides but once everyone has the momentum they get offered better rides so it will take some time to sort it out. I’m still riding with confidence and that’s the most important thing – I will give every horse the best chance.”
Ho has secured a full book of eight rides for Wednesday night and hopes it’s a rejuvenated Hurry Hurry Gain he climbs aboard in the Class Three Causeway Bay Handicap (1,200m).
After two wins and a second from three starts to begin his career, the Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained four-year-old endured a tough end to his maiden campaign, with Zac Purton easing the horse out of his penultimate run before another dull showing in his most recent appearance in June.
Ho, who was aboard for the gelding’s runner-up performance on debut and the second of his wins, galloped him on Monday after watching him win a Conghua trial from afar last month and expects a more lively showing on Wednesday, even with barrier 11 to contend with.
“I think he was still green and a big baby last season, but he has matured and he can definitely improve. I still have confidence in him and he worked well the other day,” Ho said.
Earlier on the card, Ho will attempt to build on his July success aboard Happily Friends in the Class Four North Point Handicap (1,200m).
Ho was in the saddle for the Jimmy Ting Koon-ho-trained gelding’s two-length fourth when resuming last month and he has predicted improvement from the galloper after he drew favourably in gate four.
“First-up he was probably 70, maybe 80, per cent fit. It’s been a while between his races but hopefully the first race will bring his fitness on,” said Ho, who also partners A La King for Ting on Wednesday night.
Ho’s other rides are Daily Beauty, Owners’ Star, Off The Reel, Cordyceps One and Majestic Victory, while he will partner Stronger (Premier Bowl) and Columbus County (Sha Tin Trophy) in Sunday’s Group Two features.