Vincent Ho Chak-yiu is Hong Kong’s leading active home-grown rider following his fantastic four-timer at Sha Tin on New Year’s Day.

Ho is up to 480 winners from 6,252 rides – two clear of the injured Matthew Chadwick, whose 478 victories were achieved from 6,303 mounts – and the former again displayed his versatility with successes on the straight course, the round course and with horses at vastly different stages of their careers.

Chilli Baba made a winning debut and was well backed, but he looked beaten everywhere bar the finishing line in the Class Four Palm Handicap (1,000m) after showing a lack of pace in the first 200m.

With that slowish start leaving him behind horses, Ho needed the three-year-old to be brave to push through a tiny gap to get up in the shadow of the post to beat 104-1 debutant Innoconstruction by the narrowest of margins.

“He was a bit slower out than we expected him to be, so I think 1,200m or 1,400m in the future would be suitable,” Ho said.

“Lucky, he was big enough and brave enough to take those gaps near the finish.

“Once the gap opened, he started to look around a little bit, so there’s still room for improvement. Nice performance.”

The win was an 18th of the season for trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai, who was surprised his runner won after the slow start.

“He didn’t travel like a winner and had a very clumsy sort of action,” Yiu said.

“He didn’t travel like he did in Conghua or in his trials. Luckily, he was big enough to get through the gap, and he’s got guts, otherwise he’d have got chopped off.”

“If I put him over 1,000m next time, he’ll get beaten. I’ll send him out over 1,200m. The way he finished, 1,000m would be too short.”

Ho rode two winners for trainer Chris So Wai-yin, with the first coming aboard Jiangxi Stamina, who signalled a return to form when finishing third on his return to the basement level last time, and the seven-year-old proved that run was no fluke when winning the second section of the Class Five Yew Handicap (1,400m).

The Ho-So combination also took out the last race on the card when favourite Super Sunny Sing won the Class Three Flame Tree Handicap (1,400m).

Well backed, the improving four-year-old had been ridden by Chadwick at his two previous starts, but Ho took over with aplomb as Super Sunny Sing brought up So’s 16th winner of the season.

Now the trainer is now more than halfway to matching his total of 28 from last campaign.

Ho’s other victory on the card came after he managed to conjure a brilliant start from Metro Warrior in the Class Three Chinese Banyan Handicap (1,000m).

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From stall two, Ho immediately worked his way across to the stands’ side and was able to take advantage of some scrimmaging in behind to hold off Pleasant Endeavor’s challenge by a neck.