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Ellis Wong prepares for Hong Kong debut

May 6, 2023 at 2:37:37 AM

Ellis Wong, the newest apprentice jockey to join Hong Kong’s riding roster, was introduced to local media this morning (Friday, 5 May) at a press conference.

Ellis Wong, the newest apprentice jockey to join Hong Kong’s riding roster, was introduced to local media this morning (Friday, 5 May) at a press conference.

Wong, 22, will commence his Hong Kong career with one ride this Sunday (7 May) at Sha Tin for his master, four-time championship-winning trainer Caspar Fownes, when he gets the leg-up on Kaholo Angel in the Carnation Plate (1000m) for Griffins.

“I joined The Hong Kong Jockey Club in 2017. I went to Australia for around three years and got 88 winners. I am very pleased and excited to be able to come back to Hong Kong to compete with other outstanding jockeys,” Wong said.

A former taekwondo champion of Hong Kong, Wong was sent to Australia for a short stint to obtain the necessary experience required to compete on the highly competitive Hong Kong racing circuit.

Wong was indentured to trainer Gary Searle in South Australia, riding 88 winners overall. He proved a popular three-kilogram claiming option for many of the state’s handlers.

Amy Chan, The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Racing Talent Training Centre Executive Manager and Headmistress of the Apprentice Jockeys’ School, said: “We are very proud to share that Ellis Wong has been approved by the Licensing Committee to come back to Hong Kong as an apprentice jockey and that he will be allocated to our very famous trainer Caspar Fownes.”

“We’re very confident that Ellis, with the help of trainer Caspar Fownes and our riding instructors, especially our Chief Riding Instructor Felix Coetzee, that I am sure Ellis will have a very good go in Hong Kong.”

Before being posted in Australia, Wong began riding out at Sha Tin for two of Hong Kong racing’s all-time greats – Tony Cruz and Danny Shum.

The mentor of Vincent Ho – Hong Kong’s leading active local rider and Golden Sixty’s regular partner – through his apprenticeship, Fownes is looking forward to the opportunity of nurturing another of the city’s novice talents.

“We’ll certainly be giving Ellis a good chance to learn how to ride properly in Hong Kong. It’s one of the toughest racing jurisdictions in the world, so he’s going to make mistakes and we’ll forgive him for that but he’s going to learn from those mistakes because I’ll be there to guide him through that.

“In life as long as you learn from your mistakes and get better, you’re always going to do well,” Fownes said.

Under Fownes, Ho was crowned Hong Kong Champion Apprentice (2010/11) with 39 wins before rising to all new highs on the global stage with a haul of Group 1 wins.

“The most important thing is we won’t be putting too much pressure on him, we’ll be giving him some nice rides and mentoring him the right way to give him the best possible chance to get some winning results early in his career and like anything in racing, once you start to produce and get some winners then people will always jump on the bandwagon and get more support,” Fownes said.

Wong spoke of his admiration for both Ho and Zac Purton, with the former graciously hopping off debut winner Kaholo Angel for Wong to ride in Sunday’s opening contest.

“Once I knew that he was indentured to me, I spoke to Vincent (Ho) and said it would be nice if you get off this horse and give the young boy a nice ride in a small field on a horse that looks to be a potential winning chance and Vincent was very good.

“He gave the ride straight away but he was good. It’s a nice ride for young Ellis, it’s a small field, he’s drawn three and he’ll get his chance. The horse looks well and if he wins he wins, if he doesn’t it doesn’t matter but as long as he gives him a good ride and learns from it, we’ll be ok,” Fownes said.

Wong’s minimum riding weight is 113lb and he is only permitted to ride at Sha Tin until a time that management sees fit for him to compete at Happy Valley.

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