Horse Racing

Ricky Yiu changes tactics, chases first Hong Kong Derby crown


Sha Tin Race

Image: Bruno Cannatelli

Renowned for nurturing elite sprinter talent like Sacred Kingdom, Fairy King Prawn, Amber Sky and Ultra Fantasy Ricky Yiu will make a rare reappearance in the $24 million BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) Hong Kong this weekend when he was only sixth and seventh to claim the coveted crown after first competing against Multi-Star in 1998.

“In all these years, I’ve focused more on sprinters and cyclists but it’s always fun to have two runners – anything is possible,” said Yiu. , who was licensed as a coach in Hong Kong ahead of the 1995/96 racing season, said.

Without a doubt, Yiu’s hugely successful activity focuses on short course awards in which he has excelled at winning at the highest levels in Dubai, Japan, Singapore and also at home, but this Sunday (March 20) at Sha Tin, the 64th anniversary- Old holds his best chance in the BMW Hong Kong Derby with a double strike in the form of SJ Tourbillon and Mr Ascendency in the 149th edition of the competition.

“This is the first time I have had two sprinters in a Derby – only occasionally do I have runners in a Derby, I guess it depends on the horses I have but most of them are both sprinters and millers to me, so it’s kind of weird. , especially to have two,” Yiu said.

Yiu has high hopes for the SJ Tourbillon to develop into a quality performer in Hong Kong, especially now with five runs under his belt after a drastic transformation of his form in the last match to finish within a time frame of 105/1 from the winner.

“His form in England suggests he’s the stay-in type, so he’s had a few runs in Hong Kong and his last was pretty convincing – we changed tactics and tackle him moving forward; since then he’s been more focused all the way and he’s only beaten by a small margin,” Yiu said.

Formerly known as the Roman Empire and coached by Aidan O’Brien, the SJ Tourbillon – by Galileo – finished a commendable fourth in the G2 Dante Stakes (2051m) in York before being knocked out to finish second behind. Mohaafeth in G3 Hampton Court Stakes (1993m) at Royal Ascot.

“We can try again, more stable going forward because that seems to be his way of enjoying himself,” Yiu said, referring to the sixth horse’s final start at Grade level. 3 on 1800m at Sha Tin.

Yiu has no doubts about SJ Tourbillion’s ability to handle this Sunday’s Derby as he pairs Ruan Maia from barrier 12.

“The pedigree shows that he definitely stayed – by Galileo,” Yiu said.

Before debuting in Hong Kong, Yiu won in the Irish hybrid team, being the half-brother of Sudirman – winner of the G1 Phoenix Stakes 2013 (1200m) at The Curragh.

“We brought him here, he had a bit of personality and he actually kicked one of the grooms, so we decided to try this to stabilize him – he showed a little bit different now, he’s pretty laid back but he’s a character,” Yiu said.

Maia teamed up with driver 78 in a grass gallop at Sha Tin this morning (Thursday, March 17), reaching 56.1 seconds (31.7, 24.4) with one partner horse.

“SJ Tourbillon – the owner bought this horse himself and gave it to me and Mr. Ascendency, I believe, it’s a little bit more, hopefully he’ll go the distance,” said Yiu.

Mr Ascendency raced as Rifleman before traveling abroad from the UK, where he won twice for John and Thady Gosden at Kempton and York.

“He showed a little bit, it took him a few runs, but the only concern was whether he could make the trip,” Yiu said. “It’s been a really good run (two starts first), he’s coming along and he’s showing good progress.”

Gurkha gelding raced three times in Hong Kong – finishing in fourth, starting the previous two in 147/1 before dying in last place in the HK$12 million Hong Kong Classic Cup Kong (1800 million). Luke Ferraris takes the reins for a second time this weekend alongside his steady friend at barrier number 11.

Ricky Yiu’s previous five rivals at the BMW Hong Kong Derby were World Famous (2020), Blizzard (2016), Outdoor Pegasus (2011), Jeune King Prawn (2002) and Multi-Star (1998).

Sunday (March 20) the 10-race schedule at Sha Tin will kick off at 1pm with a Ping Hai Star 4th (1200m) handicap.



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