Hong Kong’s youngest jockey is on a winning streak that could continue under the lights at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Luke Ferraris, 20, has ridden winners at the past three meetings and is up to a dozen victories overall in Hong Kong and those nascent numbers should be left well behind by the time his debut season comes to a close.
The South African’s past three winners have come for different trainers, which suggests his networking skills are up to par, and he has been well supported by iconic former jockeys Tony Cruz and Douglas Whyte.
“I’m very grateful to be riding for them,” Ferraris said. “They have a wealth of knowledge and it’s absolutely fantastic to just be around them. Riding for them is an absolute pleasure because you are so excited to learn from them and work with them.
“You know everything they say is right and there is so much to learn from them. They’ve been there, they have done it, they have set records and they are legends. To achieve results for Tony Cruz is a dream come true.”
While Ferraris had to get used to riding long shots and getting results on outsiders, it’s noticeable that his past three winners were all sent off shorter than $8.5, which suggests trainers are now happy to give him a shot on fancied runners.
“Before my last three winners, the previous three were big outsiders and hopefully that’s a testament that I have what it takes to be here,” he said.
“Those winners were 44-1, 20-1 and 80-1. To ride two of those is a coincidence, but three rules that out. Hopefully that got the attention of some more trainers and support picks up some more.”
Ferraris could well garner some admiring looks from influential observers at the Valley on Wednesday and he has confidence that he will be involved in the finish at least once on the card with Our Lucky Glory in the Class Three Glenealy Handicap (1,650m).
“You can put a line through his last run,” Ferraris said. “But, although I’ve just said put a line through it, I was still quite happy as he could have finished closer but was just a victim of circumstance.
“The going was fairly heavy that day and he was drawn 10. He didn’t have the smoothest run, there was a bit of commotion in front of him and that played into why he finished five lengths off.
“His manners in the race were what I was really happy with. He had a tendency to hang quite a bit but it looks like he’s got over that, so I’m very happy to be riding him. Hopefully I can get him into a nice spot and he’ll definitely be running up there.”
Ferraris enjoys increasing support from Cruz, delivering the goods with Campione
Ferraris also gets the chance to jump aboard a couple of debutants on the card, with the best of them looking to be the Caspar Fownes-trained Winning Icey, who takes in the Class Four Ice House Handicap (1,000m) after winning a couple of trials.
“I’ve been impressed with his trials and I’m very happy to be aboard him,” Ferraris said. “He’s got a decent enough gate in stall five and hopefully he can show something as he looks quite smart. His last trial was nice, he finished under a tight hold and I was impressed with it.”
Cruz supplies Ferraris with the ride on Transcendent in the closing Class Three Des Voeux Handicap (1,200m) and the jockey is not quite sure what to expect.
“I was a little disappointed with his last run,” Ferraris said. “I thought the way he travelled and tracked into it, I was expecting him to finish a bit better. Hopefully he can find his form and can turn the corner again.”