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Jerry Chau closes in on Vincent Ho in Tony Cruz Award battle

Wed 7th Jul 2021, 17:00

Jerry Chau strikes with Rainbow Light.
Hong Kong Jockey Club

By Leo Schlink
Jerry Chau’s quest for the Tony Cruz Award, the prize for Hong Kong’s most successful homegrown jockey in 2020/21, intensified with a treble at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (7 July) – and a massive compliment from 13-time champion rider Douglas Whyte.

Chau’s three-timer on Benno Yung’s Sure Win Win in the second section of the Class 5 Briar Handicap (1650m) and Whyte’s Rainbow Light and Simply Fluke lifted the apprentice’s tally to 56 for the season – and to within touching distance of Vincent Ho’s 58 with two meetings remaining.

With five winners from the past two meetings, Chau is continuing to create a huge impression in his first full Hong Kong Season – and Whyte, a perfectionist, was effusive in his praise of the 21-year-old prodigy after Rainbow Light’s triumph in the Class 4 Green Lane Handicap (1650m).

As the winner of the most races (1,813) by a jockey in Hong Kong, Whyte believes Chau would be a worthy winner of the Tony Cruz Award.

Chau, who rode with tremendous success in South Australia for Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas before returning to Hong Kong in 2020, said: “It’s been great, the form has been good. Thanks to my boss (Douglas Whyte) and also Mr Benno Yung for supporting me. I’ve been very lucky to get on some good horses lately.”

Chau opened the program with a measured ride on Sure Win Win, a Deep Field gelding.

He then produced another icy ride on Simply Fluke, biding his time on the Keeper gelding, before sooling the six-year-old down the middle of the track to snare the second section of the Class 4 Hawthorn Handicap (1200m).

Paul O’Sullivan posted a double when Faribault claimed the Class 4 Sauternes Cup Handicap (1000m) under Karis Teetan. Earlier, Hong Kong International Sales graduate Ka Fortune, a son of Farhh, broke through for his first win under Neil Callan for the Kiwi handler in the first section of the Class 5 Briar Handicap (1650m).

The victory was Irishman Callan’s fourth in 10 rides across three meetings.

Zac Purton’s season-ending display featured victory on Dennis Yip’s Fire Ball in the first section of the Class 4 Broom Handicap (1200m) before Ricky Yiu’s Win Win Star justified a solid betting move with success in the second section of the Class 4 Broom Handicap (1200m) for Brazilian Ruan Maia.

Purton closed the meeting in style, notching his 125th winner for the term with a copybook ride aboard Everyone’s Delight in the Class 3 Holly Handicap (1650m).

Michael Chang’s Family Folks earned a HK$600,000 bonus as a Hong Kong International Sales graduate, after the Snitzel gelding prevailed in the first section of the Hawthorn Handicap (1200m) for Antoine Hamelin.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday (11 July).