Updated: Jul 9, 2019
Keith Yeung Ming-lun was less than impressed when he lost the ride on Perfect Match after winning on the three-year-old and the jockey hopes he can avoid further disappointment when he reunites with the gelding at Happy Valley on Wednesday.
Perfect Match meets another horse Yeung has had success with in Not Usual Talent in the Class Two Hoi Ha Handicap (1,650m), with the 31-year-old winning twice in six rides aboard the latter.
“I always take whatever I can get, I don’t really pick my rides, whoever comes first I just take it,” Yeung said. “That’s why I’m not riding Not Usual Talent.”
Yeung rode the Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained Perfect Match at its first two starts for a third and a win before Zac Purton took over, with Yeung admitting that although jockeys are replaced all the time in Hong Kong, it especially stings losing a ride after a win.
“When you win on a horse you are hoping they will put you back on and it’s not nice when they take you off like that,” he said.
That could all be forgotten if Perfect Match can salute on Wednesday night, however his form suggests he might be ready for a spell.
After four wins from his first six starts, the gelding faded to finish ninth in his first attempt in Class Two. He has won a trial since, though, and Yeung hopes his first run on the city track might spark something in the horse.
“I think he is still young and he has got a bit to improve,” he said. “It will be good for him to try the Valley because he is a one-paced horse with speed, so he definitely suits the Valley.”
Perfect Match will carry only 116 pounds and despite drawing gate nine, Yeung says the light weight means he’s “not really worried about the wide barrier”.
And Happy Valley won’t be completely foreign to Perfect Match, with the horse winning a trial there in April.
Shum takes confidence from that result and the trainer hopes Perfect Match has got one last effort in him before he has a break over summer.
“He was trialled by Zac Purton and he trialled nicely,” he said. “I know first time at Happy Valley over 1,650m is difficult, especially drawing barrier nine. It’s not easy but it’s worth a try to see how he goes.”
Yeung has four rides for the night at the penultimate Valley meeting of the season but was finding it hard to get too excited about any of the others.
Despite that, he knows last-start winner Joyful Union has plenty ability, even if he is a little way from returning to his best after not running since March because of leg issues.
“Joyful Union is a nice horse but he’s been off for a while, he did trial recently and he trialled well but I rode him in the morning and I think he’s still not at his best,” Yeung said. “He’s got the top weight and the wide draw, which makes it tough.”
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