Racing

Ho, ho, ho for Vincent

He claims the Tony Cruz Award for the third time with 61 winners

Vincent Ho has crowned a glorious season by claiming his third consecutive Tony Cruz Award as Hong Kong's leading local jockey. He clinched overall honours with a double at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, the final day of the racing season.

Already the leading Group 1 rider in 2020/21 with five successes at elite level - four on Golden Sixty and another on Loves Only You - he finished the term with 61 wins to beat apprentice jockey Jerry Chau, who completed a phenomenal first full season with 58 victories.

Ho finished fourth on the jockeys' championship behind Joao Moreira (157), Zac Purton (125) and Karis Teetan (79).

"It's been an incredible season for me. I just want to thank the Jockey Club, the Racing Development Board for the way they support local jockeys, even after we graduate, with financial support for us to go overseas every summer," he said.

"That has made me a better horseman, for sure. I want to thank all the owners and trainers who support me.

"I congratulate Jerry. He did an amazing job as an apprentice - just incredible. I'm already looking forward to watching him ride next season. It is an incredibly competitive environment and that's how we all improve.

"Now it's time to relax a bit. I feel relieved and it's time to refresh the mind and go for it again next season."

Trainer Caspar Fownes ended the season with 79 victories, six ahead of John Size (73). Frankie Lor was next with 65 wins.

With both Moreira and Fownes assured of a fourth championship respectively, the Tony Cruz Award was the sole interest in terms of undecided titles.

Ho took the early initiative with victory on Jimmy Ting's Happily Friends in the second section of the Class 4 Sung Tak Handicap over 1,200m.

He had to endure an anxious wait after scoring by a nose on David Hayes-trained Red Impact in the Class 4 Hau Tak Handicap over 1,650m, as the stewards held an inquiry into the closing stages of the race. - HKJC

HORSE RACING