Maybe he doesn’t exactly FLY under the radar, but he certainly RIDES under the radar to more success than many think. It’s why jockey Derek Leung is religiously followed by those who enjoy having a wager on Hong Kong racing and stay away from any herd mentality.

At yesterday’s meeting, the Hong Kong born rider rode the first winner on the card- the favourite Pleasant Endeavour. As the race favourite, he was expected to win, but it’s how Derek Leung went about it.

It was a smart ride on a day where one was left wondering whether some riders suffered severe brain freezes during the running of some races. These things happen.

Derek rode Pleasant Endeavour off the pace, made his move at the right time and fought off Joao Moreira in what is known in horse racing parlance as a “ding dong battle royale to the wire”.

Photo by @wallacewanck

Over the past few weeks and months, when he’s not winning races and beating riders the calibre of the Brazilian Magic Man and the Australian Zac Attack in tight finishes, Derek Leung has given everything there’s to give to ensure his rides have the very best possible placings.

What immediately springs to mind is his ride on Delightful Laos in the recent Hong Kong Derby.

Of course, this race belonged to the team of Joao Moreira, Caspar Fownes and Sky Darci. But when you have a second, rewind and watch the run of Delightful Laos.

A 96-1 chance in the big race, it was a huge effort for Derek Leung to navigate a path where the galloper ran an excellent fifth. Look at the horses he beat. And this is the thing: few do- observe things like this.

Maybe this is a good thing as it allows this very talented jockey to ride below the radar and for his followers to reap the rewards of his efforts.

This is also the dichotomy of being a fan of Derek Leung: one wants to see him ride more and more winners and be associated with a champion like Golden Sixty.

The problem with this is that success breeds more success, the hype gets louder and there’s not enough time to enjoy that winning feeling with those closest to you. Success truly is a double edged sword.

Guess the best case scenario is for Derek Leung to simply continue as he has been doing. It’s working.

Riding with great confidence, he’s been given more and more opportunities, he’s making the most of these and seems happy with his lot in life and his place in Hong Kong racing.

Some say he’s not “hungry” enough. Disagree. Perhaps with his young family, and having suffered an almost career ending injury around five years ago, he’s now back and exactly where he wishes to be.

This allows Derek Leung with the breathing space to enjoy the best of all worlds- including family time.

It always comes down to a question of balance in anything one does and not letting ambition and becoming Oliver Twisted take over one’s entire being. Nothing is worth that.

During these days and nights of looking inwards, it’s becoming more and more clear that Less Is More.

How it’s about making the time to enjoy what you already have with those who truly matter. The rest really don’t come into play.

When reading this back, I guess I need to thank Derek Leung for prompting me to write the piece.

It’s somehow zig zagged along and reminded me of life’s priorities and how these are almost magically presented as a timely gift…and for all the right reasons.

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