Vincent Ho reaches 500 Hong Kong wins
By Leo Schlink
Synonymous with Golden Sixty’s greatest triumphs, Vincent Ho has become only the second home-grown jockey to ride 500 wins in Hong Kong, joining the legendary Tony Cruz in a select club with victory aboard Lucky Gold at Sha Tin on Sunday (19 March).
Fittingly, Ho’s milestone was reached in tandem with Francis Lui, the quietly-spoken trainer who has exclusively used Ho aboard eight-time Group 1 winner Golden Sixty, who recently returned to the top of the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.
“It’s feels like ages when you watch the videos of when I got my first winner,” said Ho, 32, a product of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Racing Talent Centre (HKJCRTT), who rode his first winner in the city in 2009/10 after an educational stint in New Zealander under Lance O’Sullivan.
“It’s picked up this season, but hopefully there will be more (winners). I was lucky to get into the Hong Kong Jockey Club Apprentices’ School when I was a little bit heavy or a little bit taller than the limit.
“I’m really grateful to the Club and Amy Chan (Racing Talent Centre Head-mistress) for putting so much effort into local boys and we are doing our best to help the next generation to be a role model as well because we know it feels from back then and we want to help them believe.
“I’ve always loved riding and loved horses and when I first signed with Amy Chan, the goal was to produce world-class jockeys so that was my dream as well.”
Lui said: “I’m very happy for him (Ho), congratulations. He’s so honest, he always tries his best and even at trackwork and everything, we communicate well. He’s a very good jockey.”
Cruz rode 946 winners in a fabulous Hong Kong career and also featured in several major international victories, while Ho hopes to continue building a tally bolstered by Golden Sixty’s 24 wins to date.
“He’s (Golden Sixty) definitely got me a lot of recognition in Hong Kong and around the world because of Golden Sixty and he’s definitely very special to me and I can’t say thanks enough to the owner and the trainer who have continuously supported me even though sometimes I make mistakes,” Ho said.
Mighty Stride capped a magnificent meeting for Ricky Yiu with victory in the Class 3 Designs On Rome Handicap (1400m) under Hugh Bowman.
Hong Kong Champion Trainer in 2019/20, Yiu earlier celebrated his first BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) success with Voyage Bubble and Alexis Badel. Yiu’s double lifted the veteran handler to 41 in this season’s title race, five behind John Size (46).
Victor The Winner continued his promising development with a blistering win in the Class 2 Rapper Dragon Handicap (1200m) for Danny Shum and Zac Purton, clocking a slick 1m 08.20s.
A son of Toronado, Victor The Winner collected a HK$1 million PPG Bonus with his fourth win from his sixth start before Matthew Poon steered Shum-trained Supreme Lucky to runaway success in the Class 3 Luger Handicap (1200m).
Hong Kong International Sale graduate Call Me Dandy – a son of I Am Invincible – broke through at his third start for Lui, winning the Class 4 Sky Darci Handicap (1200m) under Matthew Chadwick before Angus Chung’s 10lb claim proved decisive in Dennis Yip-trained Top Top Tea’s (123lb) short head victory over Rattan Kingdom (135lb) in the Class 4 Furore Handicap (1400m).
With his 20th career-win, Chung’s 10lb apprentice claim will reduce to 7lb following this afternoon’s fixture.
Hugh Bowman and David Hall combined for their 10th win of the season when Summit Cheers claimed the Class 4 Ping Hai Star Handicap (1200m) before Size’s Escape Route benefited from a ground-saving ride from Damian Lane to clinch the Class 3 Werther Handicap (2000m).
Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (22 March).