Star local jockey Vincent Ho’s 14th winner for the season, recorded on the Ricky Yiu-trained Gentle Breeze tonight (Wednesday 14 November) at Happy Valley, might be worth more to the 28-year-old than just the usual winning rider’s percentage.
Ho drew level with fellow local rider Matthew Poon on that tally and that should guarantee him the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship spot allocated to the leading homegrown rider (a graduate of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Apprentice Jockeys’ School).
That leading position is determined by standings after the Happy Valley race meeting on Wednesday 21 November but Poon cannot add to his tally before the cut-off as he is now suspended until 1 December. Ho’s greater number of second placings would secure the local place on countback, ahead of Poon, for the 5 December international challenge (provided, of course, his winning tally remains greater than any other eligible local rider, which looks almost certain).
As it stands, after tonight’s meeting, Ho would secure one of the two places allocated to all-comers in Hong Kong and Poon would therefore also win a place if Ho is still outright third in the premiership after the 21 November fixture and Poon is still the leading local.
“Of course I’d definitely like to get the chance to compete in the IJC but my focus is really just to keep riding my best and get the good results like this one. This horse (Gentle Breeze) is still a baby, still green and there’s plenty of improvement to come,” Ho said.
It would be Ho’s second IJC appearance, having finished fifth in 2014, and still something of a fairytale for the man who ‘carried the towels’ for the stars of the IJC show when he was still at apprentice’s school.