Racing

Chau goes bang, bang in HK debut

2 wins from 4 rides for South Australia-trained rookie

Jerry Chau Chun Lok made a dream home debut at Sha Tin on Saturday, driving first past the post not once but twice just five days after teaming up with his new boss, Douglas Whyte, the first-season handler best known as Hong Kong's iconic 13-time champion jockey.

The 10lb (4.54kg) claimer was three rides into his new assignment, when his breakthrough win arrived atop Relentless Me, a 2-1 shot in the Class 3 Crystal Handicap over 1,200m.

He rounded off his four-ride step-out with a mature victory on the John Moore-trained Buddies in the Class 1 Amber Handicap over 1,400m.

"I didn't think I could have a double on my first day, but I'm really lucky and very thankful, especially to Mr John Moore and my boss," said Chau.

"The first win was very exciting, especially as I won for my mentor. He has already taught me a lot, in particular those things that I need to pay attention to when riding in Hong Kong.

"He knows everything about Hong Kong racing and he has encouraged me to keep on asking questions. He said to me: 'If you don't ask, you will never know,' so that's what I will do."

Whyte was pleased with his protege's first-time performance in the unforgiving cauldron of Hong Kong racing.

"He's ridden phenomenally well for his first day. It's about building momentum now and building a bit of confidence," the trainer noted.

"He's riding with his head and that's what you need to do in Hong Kong. We need to make sure it doesn't go to his head and that's what I've got to be there for. "

Chau displayed intelligence aboard Buddies, settling third on a horse more accustomed to making the running, following advice from Whyte and instruction from Moore.

"Yesterday, when we walked the track and I gave him a bit of advice, he's obviously absorbed it and he's riding the 'C' Course according to how it should be ridden - very 'heady'," said Whyte.

"With Buddies, we went through the racing pattern and I said to him to not be afraid to talk to Mr Moore and, if something goes crazy let them go. I told him 'this horse has never taken a sit before and you could make the difference'. Well, he did it. If he'd taken on the horse in front something would have been coming from the back."

Chau, 20, was called home after just one year of his overseas placement in South Australia, where he was indentured to the Leon McDonald and Andrew Gluyas stable.

He notched 77 wins there, with a 14 per cent strike rate.

His first Hong Kong success came one year and one day after his initial career victory at Balaklava aboard Serious Spender. - HKJC

HORSE RACING