Jerry Chau’s record-breaking season nears climax
July 6, 2021, 4:56:45 PM
Nearing the end of his first full season in Hong Kong, apprentice jockey Jerry Chau's exploits in the saddle have included a notable win strike rate of nearly 12 percent, bettered only by Hong Kong's ‘big two' – Joao Moreira and Zac Purton – but the 21-year-old is heading into the season's third-to-last fixture at Happy Valley tomorrow (Wednesday, 7 July) hopeful of boosting t
Chau has blossomed under the guidance of Hong Kong's famous 13-time champion jockey-turned-trainer, Douglas Whyte, with 53 victories this year, the highest of any apprentice in a single season since Matthew Chadwick won 43 in 2008/09.
“It feels wonderful - thank you to my employer (Douglas Whyte) for providing me the opportunity, teaching me a lot, and most importantly, giving me confidence,” Chau added.
In terms of individuals to learn from in Hong Kong, Chau has landed on his feet with Whyte's skill in the saddle easily available to him, and the combination has combined for 19 victories this season, including a scorching 12 since the beginning of May.
“I learned from my employer to think faster in races and that everything changes so quickly, especially in Hong Kong, and if you wait one second, the position is gone.
“He trusts me, and after each race, he educates me and tells me which parts of the race I should have done better, but he encourages me and gives me confidence - I think that's why I keep doing the correct things,” Chau explained.
Chau has smashed in 21 wins since the beginning of April, a total he attributes to hard effort and the 'belief' taught in him by the most successful jockey in Hong Kong history, Douglas Whyte.
“At times, the results haven't been great, but you just have to keep working hard and it's all coming together now; me and my employer have had really fantastic seasons - he simply gives me confidence.
“He's like a perfect man, he wants everything to be flawless and there's a little amount of pressure that comes with that, but a high standard helps me lift, if I just think a little differently it improves me a lot,” Chau said.
Tomorrow, Chau will ride four mounts for his boss on the city circuit, including Rainbow Light in the Class 4 Green Lane Handicap (1650m).
“His mentality is mature; I rode him a few times at the beginning of the season and he gave me a nice sensation each time – he seems like he's progressed with each run,” Chau said of the Irish-bred.
The son of Outstrip came in Hong Kong as an unraced import and has since been tried eight times, finishing inside the placings three times.
Chau's 53 victories are five fewer than Vincent Ho's 58, who leads this season's Tony Cruz Award as the leading homegrown rider, with 38 victories.
Chau will also ride Sure Win Win and Simply Fluke, both last-start winners, as well as Valiant Elegance, a two-length winner two races ago.
Bentley wants to expand on its early success.
Gaining a footing as a jockey in Hong Kong is difficult, especially as a mid-season hire, but with 113 rides and three victories under his belt, Harry Bentley is hoping to further establish himself in the city as he looks back on a good first three months in the Far East.
“I've really liked it; it's been a steep learning curve - you're thrown in the deep end and it's challenging, but I've very much enjoyed my time; I've learned plenty so far, and hopefully I can take whatever I've learned into next season and have a decent enough start,” Bentley added.
Bentley, who is preparing for six rides at Happy Valley tomorrow night, hopes to steer Classic Posh to back-to-back wins in the second half of the Class 3 Hawthorn Handicap (1200m).
“Things went pretty well last time, we got a great pitch from a decent draw and he quickened up nicely, so maybe he can do the same this time,” Bentley added.
After starting from gate two last time out, the son of Testa Rossa will be tried from gate seven this time out against 11 competitors.
“I would have liked to have been as near to the fence as possible, but he's a horse who can take his time, so if I can just drop him, he has a nice turn of foot so he should be fine,” the Englishman explained.
“I'd assume the horses on the inside would simply go forward, and maybe we'll be able to slot in behind them,” he said.
Bentley worked the bay in a dirt gallop Wednesday (5 July), recording 31.7s for the 400m exercise.
“He feels okay; we only ran a little bit yesterday, but he's in good spirits, and I'm hoping for a good run,” he explained.
Earlier in the day, trainer Benno Yung is hoping Amazing Rocky will overcome a wide gate and top weight to win the Class 4 Sauternes Cup Handicap (1000m).
“Unfortunately, he has draw 11 and must carry top weight, so those are the issues, but his form recently has been fairly good,” Yung added.
Last time out, the four-year-old led from pillar to post under Zac Purton, who returns to the saddle.
“He went to Conghua and he loves it a lot there because Happy Valley has a short straight so it helps him a little more, Sha Tin is still ok but the pace helps him a bit more at Happy Valley,” Yung remarked of his charge, who recently shuttled to Conghua following his last triumph.
The second section of the Class 5 Briar Handicap will begin at 6.45pm on Wednesday (7 July) at Happy Valley (1650m).