By Hans Ebert

Just how good is Jerry Chau, the apprentice rider, who’s taken Hong Kong racing by storm overnight?

(Photo: Wallace Wan)

Before trying to answer this, let’s not forget that the young rider was an emergency call up when apprentice Gary Lo was disqualified from riding in Hong Kong without having even ridden in the city.

Apparently, the reason for this U-turn had to do with a past and “off course” misdemeanour that somehow came to light late in the innings and short circuited his Hong Kong riding license.

There were some in South Australia who believed that Jerry Chau, then a successful and promising young rider serving out his apprenticeship there, was not ready for prime time. Certainly not ready to match fine motor skills with world class riders like Joao Moreira and Zac Purton. Who is?

Would Jerry even be able to compete against the other apprentices riding in Hong Kong?

Chau answered the doubters the best way possible by riding a double on his debut in Hong Kong, one for John Moore, and the other in Relentless Me for the Trainer to whom he was indentured- former multiple Hong Kong champion jockey Douglas Whyte.

Whyte has kept an eye on his ten-pound claiming apprentice and also in cotton wool and uses him wisely.

(Photo: Wallace Wan)

Other trainers, knowing full well about Hong Kong racing’s handicap system knows the importance of a claiming apprentice who can actually ride.

It hasn’t taken long for Jerry Chau to be the most successful and exciting 10-pound claiming apprentice riding in Hong Kong since the arrival and immediate success of the very good Matthew Chadwick.

This was when Chadwick was an apprentice, indentured to the stable of the legendary Tony Cruz and was the regular rider for champion gallopers like California Memory. Remember?

Jerry Chau is now a seven pound claimer after outriding his 10-pound claim in record time, rode another double on Wednesday- winners for David Hayes and Tony Cruz- and is in demand by every stable.

So, how good is the apprentice? As an apprentice, he definitely has potential.

He also handles himself very well with the racing media. He conquered the idiosyncratic Happy Valley track very quickly.

He has Douglas Whyte and the legendary Felix Coetzee who mentors Hong Kong apprentices in his corner.

He’s come very far and very quickly to his days riding in Adelaide. Hong Kong is a different kind of beast.

Though racing fans in Hong Kong love their local heroes, one is also only as good as their last winner. Just ask any senior rider. Any.

Stable support is one thing, but this is something usually endorsed by the owners who pay the bills, often, not the trainers. That is unless a Cruz, Size, Fownes or Whyte who control their stables with an iron fist.

When an owner, there are all those who have their ear- friends and family- and most lethal of all, the wife/mistress- the ones who are very often those who take their betting seriously and are unforgiving if they lose backing any one particular jockey.

Here’s hoping that Jerry Chau keeps improving and improving and delivering the winners while handling everything that surrounds and infiltrates the fame game, especially in horse racing.

(Photo: Wallace Wan)

#JerryChau #HKracing #DouglasWhyte #GaryLo #Matthew Chadwick #horseracing