Talented rookie set to make HK debut
Home-grown apprentice jockey Jerry Chau has made his mark in South Australia
A talented South Australia-trained apprentice jockey will soon join the riding ranks in Hong Kong, where its competitive and exciting racing is very popular in Singapore.
He is Jerry Chau Chun Lok, who has been granted a licence to ride until the conclusion of the current season by The Hong Kong Kong Jockey Club's (HKJC) licensing committee.
This is subject to a satisfactory medical examination.
The date of his commencement has yet to be fixed.
Said the HKJC: "It is anticipated that apprentice Chau will commence riding in races at the conclusion of a mandatory period of isolation upon his return to Hong Kong from Australia in the coming days."
The quarantine is in line with the Covid-19 measures taken to curb the spread of the contagious coronavirus which has infected more than 1.4 million people worldwide with over 82,000 deaths.
After joining the club's Racing Trainee Program in September 2015, Chau started training with Thoroughbred Racing SA in Adelaide in January last year. He was attached to the stable of leading trainer Leon McDonald.
He first rode in races on March 20 last year and has since recorded 77 wins from 544 races at a winning strike rate of 14.2 per cent.
He currently sits in fifth position on the South Australian Jockeys' Championship with 62 winners.
Chau, 20, has advised the club that his minimum riding weight is 110lb (50kg) .
This will put him in great demand with trainers looking for claims on their heavily handicapped runners with rookies' allowances.
Chau enjoyed his time in Adelaide and pinpointed leading jockey Todd Pannell as someone who has made a big impression on him.
"He is very calm and knows the pace of a race. I'm hoping to learn from that," he said.
Pannell is leading the South Australia jockeys' premiership with 95 winners.
Former Singapore-based South African jockey, 2004 champion Barend Vorster, is just behind Chau in sixth position, with 52 winners.
The HKJC has sent budding riders to South Africa, New Zealand, Tasmania and all over Australia, but Adelaide in South Australia has become the predominant breeding ground for Hong Kong riders.
In 2015, Matthew Poon was the first Hong Kong jockey to be sent to Adelaide and proved himself to be a hit. He rode over 100 winners during his stint and was dubbed the "Poon Train".
He laid the foundation for other home-grown riders and Hong Kong racing is reaping the rewards from the tutelage and riding in Adelaide.
Poon, who has ridden a few times in Singapore, also wowed Singapore racegoers during his first Kranji stint in 2016.
He rode six winners and six placings from 26 rides, including his first Group success in the Group 3 Garden City Trophy over 1,200m on the Shane Baertschiger-trained Faaltless.