Jerry Chau: Riding Tall.
He received a late call up to Hong Kong when fellow apprentice Gary Lo made a stuttering start-screech-stop Hello to Hong Kong by having his license revoked before he had even ridden in the city.
Jerry Chau Chun-lok was then indentured to the stable of tough taskmaster Douglas Whyte and enjoyed immediate success.
Things were humming along nicely until that bromance hit a few bumps along the road and Trainer and jockey went their separate ways.
These days Whyte seems to have formed a good partnership with Lyle Hewitson, but who knows anything for sure, especially when it comes to trying to understand the thought processes of the former champion Hong Kong Jockey?
As for Hewitson, he’s now established himself as one of perhaps 3-4 jockeys able to trail the firestorm set by the rampant Zac Attack.
He’s returned from his time in Sydney more chilled and with a sage-like attitude towards life and how he wants to live it.
As for Jerry Chau, of course it wasn’t easy for a new apprentice rider in Hong Kong to be suddenly cut and left high and dry with no stable support system.
It was something particularly disappointing to see, because here’s someone who outrode his apprenticeship in record time and a rider with an X Factor.
Sure, some might not buy into this and that’s fine.
Over the past few months, however, more and more people who don’t get caught up in the Hong Kong racing rumour mill that’s not helped by news of enquiries into the rides of jockeys only to have these rescinded, have commented about just how much Jerry Chau has improved as a rider.
What’s key is everything he has delivered with the handful of winning opportunities that have come his way.
These have mainly been from the yard of Benno T.P. Yung, below, who hardly has the most stellar stable of equine talent in Hong Kong.
To achieve what Jerry Chau has with the crumbs he’s been given says much about the rider.
Perhaps the recent news that rookie trainer Pierre Ng Pang-chi will leg Chau aboard his veteran sprinter Duke Wai in the upcoming Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint will be the opportunity needed for him to really stand up and be counted.
It’s also time for the Hong Kong Jockey Club to think of what might lie ahead when Zac Purton finally leaves the city with his golf clubs.
The man is in a different class and it’s now more evident than ever that no matter who might be brought in to try and create a more level playing field, it’s not working.
Though extremely good, Hong Kong riding talent like Matthew Chadwick, Derek Leung and Vincent Ho are not getting any younger whereas there’s that other group of riders seemingly reserved to ride no hopers who are part of the ratings game.
These riders deserve better.
None of this is a good look for Hong Kong racing that’s looking rather dated and pruned these days.
Apart from other problems that those at 1 Sports Road have to solve, surely there must be a better contingency plan other than flying in the usual big name million dollar babies of the turf?
Knowing something about the psyche of Hong Kong racing fans, this game plan is quickly losing its lustre.
It’s not so much that these flying squads are too much of a good thing, but simply, too much of the same thing.
The same can be said about Hong Kong racing across the board.
Like Stella did, it needs to get its groove back...and in sync with 2023.
Right now, the Hong Kong racing “experience” has been described by some as looking as corny as the Hello Hong Kong promotion to attract more tourists and resembling a HKTVB variety show from the Eighties.
Hello Hong Kong appears to have been quickly swept under the Tai Ping carpet.
There are many lessons to be learned from that quite mawkish marketing smorgasbord of fluffy dumplings and singing and dancing and faked out Hello Kitty happiness.
#JerryChau #DouglasWhyte #ZacPurton #HKracing #hellohongkong