Jockey Angus Chung, at left
Nearly all of the races in Hong Kong are handicaps and there will be as a lot as a 20-pound weight unfold in every race. As horses do properly and transfer up in school, they need to face higher firm however often get in mild. Weight is a big handicapping issue.
When you study previous performances, the load assigned is correct until an apprentice rider is in it. The apprentice allowance declare ranges from 10 kilos to 2 kilos. The latest riders to Hong Kong begin out with a 10-pound allowance declare however the truth that they’re new to Hong Kong doesn’t imply they’re new to horse racing.
The Hong Kong Apprentice Jockey School has been growing younger using expertise for 50 years. (To learn extra about it click on right here.) They establish younger riders, college them after which one of the best ones get their probability to race abroad. If profitable, they are often invited again and take part in Hong Kong racing.
Unlike apprentice riders in America, who’re actually starting their profession and thus lack expertise, the apprentice riders in Hong Kong benefit from having confirmed themselves abroad. Victor Wong had 1,091 begins and gained 120 races earlier than coming again to Hong Kong; Jerry Chau had 547 rides and 77 wins.
To begin off, new riders to Hong Kong obtain a 10-pound allowance declare till they win 20 races. They then obtain seven kilos for his or her subsequent 25 wins and 5 kilos for his or her subsequent 50 wins. After they win 95 races, their mounts will nonetheless obtain two kilos.
The newest apprentice rider to make the grade is 26-year-old Angus Chung. He has been allotted to Tony Cruz after using in south Australia the place he gained 76 races from 689 rides. He will get the complete 10-pound claiming allowance and appears to be a serious pressure within the upcoming months.
Under the method of acclimatization, he’s using solely races at Sha Tin and Happy Valley barrier trials. When the stewards resolve that he has sufficient expertise, he will probably be allowed to trip the seven-furlong Happy Valley turf course which will be quirky for newcomers. No worries; this younger man can trip.
For an instance of how properly Angus Chung can trip, and the way necessary 10 kilos can matter, return and watch the replay of race 5 on Oct. 1 at Sha Tin. In the category 4 Nanning Handicap going 1600 meters, Oscar Glory was assigned 131 kilos. But with Chung using, he solely carried 121. So, as a substitute of being the third highest weighted runner at 131, he was the co-ninth highest weighted runner at 121.
Chung put Oscar Glory on the lead and lined the primary 400 meters in solely 25.22 seconds. Riding like an skilled veteran, he saved his benefit and started to separate together with his second 400 meters run in a sooner 23.52 seconds. He cruised across the flip in 22.75 whereas he rode excessive within the saddle together with his legs aside.
When the anticipated challenges materialized, he sat down and started working. What was particularly spectacular was that his stability by no means modified when he went to left-hand encouragement. In excellent unison with Oscar Glory, Chung held on by a half-length. Oscar Glory lined his final 1,200 meters in 1:09.61 seconds and even expanded his lead on the gallop out. His ultimate time was .27 seconds sooner than normal however his ranking solely went up 5 factors so at 59, he can face class 4 once more.
At his new ranking of 59, Oscar Glory will in all probability be assigned 134 kilos subsequent outing however with Chung aboard, it is nearly unfair that he’ll carry 124 kilos and can get weight from higher-rated rivals. But that’s the fantastic thing about the Hong Kong apprentice system. The younger riders go abroad to get expertise, then come dwelling to favorable circumstances with enormous weight benefits.
As bettors, bear in mind that apprentice jockeys in Hong Kong nullify many of the weight consider handicapping. When you couple that with a rider of Chung’s expertise, and the mentorship of Tony Cruz, it may be a successful mixture.