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Angus Chung graduates to senior ranks with Happy Valley success

May 3, 2024 at 4:30:17 AM

Angus Chung has dedicated his graduation to Hong Kong’s senior riding ranks to Tony Cruz, his family and friends and The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Apprentice Jockeys’ School after reaching the 70-win milestone at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (1 May).

Angus Chung has dedicated his graduation to Hong Kong’s senior riding ranks to Tony Cruz, his family and friends and The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Apprentice Jockeys’ School after reaching the 70-win milestone at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (1 May).

Chung, 27, completed his apprenticeship with a runaway success on Colourful Emperor for his master Tony Cruz, having endured a frustrating 33-race run of outs before returning to the winners’ list in the Class 3 ParisLongchamp Handicap (1200m).

“It feels amazing. It was very frustrating to wait for three or four meetings. I felt a little bit of pressure because people were talking about the next winner and they were reminding of previous mistakes and that I should be winning,” Chung said.

“Everything is working well for me in Hong Kong. I’ve got a good trainer (Cruz) to support me to teach me how to ride, the Apprentice School and the Hong Kong Jockey Club organises everything for me and I don’t have to worry too much and I can just focus on the riding.

“I have the support of a lot of people behind me – my family and friends – and tonight I made them proud and I feel very satisfied.”

Chung joined the Club’s Apprentice Jockeys’ School in 2017 before venturing to South Australia, where he was attached to Jon O’Connor’s stable, riding 76 winners. He returned to Hong Kong for the 2022/23 season and made rapid progress with 31 wins in his first season while tonight’s success was his 39th for the term.


Tony Cruz hailed Angus Chung’s milestone ride.
Tony Cruz hailed Angus Chung’s milestone ride.
Cruz, a legendary Hong Kong racing figure, was elated for his young charge.

“Angus rode a perfect race and the horse seemed to love this kind of going. I’m very happy to see him finish his apprenticeship. We thought it would happen last Sunday but this was the horse that could do it for him,” Cruz said.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director, Racing, Mr Andrew Harding praised Racing SA’s role in developing emerging Hong Kong riding talent.

“As well as the congratulating the Headmistress of the Club’s Apprentice Jockeys’ School, Amy Chan, and the AJS Chief Riding Instructor, Felix Coetzee on what they have done to develop Angus’ talent I would like to acknowledge the integral role Racing SA plays in the advancement of our trainee jockeys. Angus is one of several young riders to go to South Australia to gain invaluable experience before returning to Hong Kong. Several others have preceded him, including Matthew Poon, Jerry Chau and Ellis Wong.

“The Hong Kong Jockey Club is extremely grateful to have this partnership and we are delighted with Angus’ progress.”


Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Tony Cruz and Andrew Harding share celebrations with Angus Chung at Happy Valley.
Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Tony Cruz and Andrew Harding share celebrations with Angus Chung at Happy Valley.
Chung’s graduation came on a momentous night for fellow Apprentice School alumni Ellis Wong and Jerry Chau.

Wong notched a double, rating Dennis Yip-trained Cordyceps One to perfection when leading all the way to land the first section of the Class 4 Chantilly Handicap (1650m) before piloting David Hayes-trained Dragon Delight to victory in the Class 5 Auteuil Handicap (1650m).

The latter success saw the 23-year-old apprentice reach the 20-win mark in Hong Kong, triggering a reduction in his allowance from 10lb to 7lb starting with Sunday’s (5 May) meeting at Sha Tin.

Dennis Yip also celebrated a brace when Modest Gentleman claimed the Class 5 Maisons-Laffitte Handicap (1000m) under Jerry Chau as the Slade Power gelding slotted his second course and distance this season, with his previous success coming for Francis Lui and Andrea Atzeni in January.

“This horse only joined my stable about four weeks ago. I have just given him more swimming. I think the horse has been more fit. Lucky he had the draw and he could handle the ground,” Yip said.


Beauty Destiny breaks through.

Zac Purton and Frankie Lor combined to win the Class 4 French May Trophy Handicap (1200m) with Beauty Destiny, who tested the champion jockey’s skills over the last 50 metres.

“As we know, he’s been a frustrating horse and once again, he looked like he had the race won,” Purton said.

“As soon as he spotted the (infield) screen and the winning post and I gave him one with the whip, he shifted out to the left quite quickly and I thought at one stage there he was going to run completely off the track, but I managed to straighten him up and hang on – it’s been a long time coming.”

Purton secured a double when Francis Lui’s Copartner Prance continued his impressive progress with a comfortable win in the Class 3 France Galop Cup Handicap (1200m). The Epaulette gelding has strung together three successive course and distance wins under six-time Hong Kong champion jockey.

Lui continued to erode Pierre Ng’s lead in the trainers’ championship with Yellowfin’s triumph in the Class 3 Deauville Handicap (1650m) under Lyle Hewitson. With 20 meetings left in the season, Lui (52 wins) trails Ng (57 wins).

Ricky Yiu took his Hong Kong career haul of wins to 999 with Mega Bonus, who fought tenaciously for Antoine Hamelin to clinch the first section of the Class 4 Saint-Cloud Handicap (1200m) before Caspar Fownes-trained Jumbo Legend defied the evening’s pattern by maintaining a sustained effort from off the pace to snare the second section of the Class 4 Chantilly Handicap (1650m) under Vincent Ho.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday (5 May) with the running of the HK$4.2 million G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap (2400m).

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