Racing

Welcome change of luck for jockey

Winning horse, too, ends dry run

It had been a long time between drinks for a jockey and his horse but, thankfully, Lady Luck came a-knocking on Wednesday night.

Grant van Niekerk finally heaved a big sigh of relief when he ended a 53-ride, 10-meeting blank with a rail-hugging victory on Lucky Girl in the Class 3 Yee Wo Street Handicap over 1,650m at Happy Valley.

Lucky Girl's own dry run stretched back to November 2017.

Van Niekerk arrived from South Africa in September for his maiden Hong Kong season with guns blazing, notching a double on opening day.

By Jan 27, when King Opie scored at Sha Tin, van Niekerk had a more-than-respectable 17 wins on the board - but there things stalled.

"This place can be really tough," he said, after driving the Danny Shum-trained gelding to a 3/4-length victory over Merrygowin.

"If you're not getting the best of rides going into a meeting, you try to be confident but you also have to be realistic. It makes a huge difference if you do win and prove to the trainers that you can ride.

"Some trainers have their jockeys, so it's hard to get rides from some of them but you have to keep grinding away. The wheel eventually turns." - HKJC

HORSE RACING