One look at the current standings shows just how tough it can be for jockeys trying to make a mark in Hong Kong.
Fifteen meetings into a new season, champion jockey Zac Purton and nearest pursuer Karis Teetan have been responsible for almost a third of all winners.
By contrast, 10 out of 21 regular riders have partnered just 19 winners between them and, with Silvestre De Sousa and Alexis Badel about to re-enter the fray and talk of a December return for Joao Moreira, the squeeze in the bottom half of the table promises to get tighter still.
However, with Purton sitting out the second day of a ban, this Wednesday’s (31 October) all-weather track card at Sha Tin provides the chance for several riders to kick-start their season and resilient Irishman Neil Callan is hoping to take inspiration from one of his four young sporting sons as he bids to convert one of several promising opportunities.
Callan’s season so far has been a story of near misses – with nine seconds to go alongside his two winners – but a recent ban provided the chance to see his seven-year-old son Teddy perform in his first rugby tournament on Sunday.
The youngster got on the scoreboard quickly once he found his feet and Callan is confident that he can leave behind his own slow start once the ball begins to bounce his way again.
“I missed a couple of winners while I was out for those two Happy Valley meetings – namely Electric Lightning and Nordic Warrior – but that’s Hong Kong for you and when things aren’t swinging your way you just have to keep working,” he said.
“I certainly won’t let it get me down and it was great to watch Teddy at the weekend. He rides, like all our four boys, but I’d say rugby might just be his thing. He’s certainly built for it and once he got the hang of things he was away for three nice tries.”
Callan marks his return by being active in seven of the eight races with a promising book of rides and a first chance to shine for the bang-in-form Jimmy Ting aboard Dr Proactive in the Tin Ha Shan Handicap (1200m) at 8.45pm.