Leung wants a Jumbo win at Happy Valley this Sunday
A rare Sunday card at Happy Valley this weekend carries 10 races, including a competitive Class 2 closer, the Yip Fat Handicap, in which jockey Derek Leung is aiming to maintain his recent momentum with a victory aboard the promising Jumbo Luck (115lb).
Leung enjoyed the biggest win of his career last Sunday when driving Beauty Generation to a narrow victory in the Group 2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy. The Hong Kong Apprentice Jockeys’ School graduate then took his tally for the season to eight with a score at the city track mid-week.
“I hope I can keep it up,” Leung said during track work at Sha Tin on Friday morning (27 October). “I’m riding with more confidence and it’s a little bit easier to get on the better horses, so I hope it can continue. But, Hong Kong style, if you miss a meeting everyone quickly forgets about you!”
Jumbo Luck lands his third career win at Sha Tin last June, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
Leung takes the ride on Jumbo Luck with the gelding’s past two partners, Karis Teetan and Joao Moreira, both suspended. Champion Jockey Moreira steered trainer Francis Lui’s charge to a brace of 1200m wins at Sha Tin to round out last term, while Teetan filled in for the five-year-old’s first-up fifth behind the well-regarded Pingwu Spark on 1 October.
“He won quite well in a couple of easier races last season, so he’s gone up quite a lot in the handicap, but we saw last time that in Class 2 he’s still very honest,” Leung said. “It was his first start this season and his first at the class and it wasn’t a bad run.”
Leung has not partnered Jumbo Luck in any of his six races to date but has held the reins in each of the bay’s latest two fast gallops, latterly an 800m all-weather hit out in 51.9s (28.7, 23.2). That was on Thursday.
“I’ve galloped him a couple of times and in the morning he’s quite lazy, he always comes back pretty easy because he didn't work as strongly as he might, he’s very relaxed,” the rider said.
“Last time, he ran close to the pace, kicked on and seemed to just tire at the end. I think he’s still improving and I expect he can get a little bit better but Class 2 is different and he needs to show that he’s good enough.
“He’s going to race at Happy Valley for the first time and luckily he has a good draw (gate three). He’s fairly straightforward, so going there shouldn’t be a problem.”
The 12-strong field also features the smart Caspar Fownes-trained Southern Legend (129lb), a course and distance winner and runner-up in that same Pingwu Spark race last time. That was the five-year-old’s fourth local start since importing to Hong Kong as a multiple-winning G2-placed galloper in Australia.