Luke Ferraris hopes winners continue to flow at Happy Valley after ending disappointing run
What do you do as a rider in Hong Kong when your momentum slows down and your biggest supporter, who also happens to be your father, retires midway through your first season in the city?
Well, you get your head down, you work harder and you build new relationships – at least that’s what young South African jockey Luke Ferraris has done after the sudden departure of his dad, David, from the training ranks.
The loss of his main source of rides means Ferraris, 20, has been forced to forge new partnerships and he has started to regain the winning thread with success at the past two meetings.
“Dad had been here for 18 or 19 years so he had done his time,” Ferraris said. “It was a bit disappointing to see him go but it was probably for the better as it allowed me to get out and ride for trainers that I probably wouldn’t have ridden for if he was still here.”
Ferraris is the youngest jockey in Hong Kong and any racing fan who expects the baby of the weighing room to be helped out by older, more experienced riders is in for a rude awakening.
“It’s definitely more a dog-eat-dog world in the weighing room and especially in Hong Kong,” Ferraris said. “I was the youngest jockey in the modern era to win the Cape Met in South Africa and I’ve had to grow up very quickly in a short amount of time.
“Hong Kong is no exception, you have to be even more mature and more professional but I’ve never looked at it as if I’m the youngest. It’s all equal out on the racetrack.”
After a quick start to his riding career in Hong Kong with a couple of winners in his first month, Ferraris had been on a recent lean spell until saluting at the past two meetings and admits that he hoped his season could have gone better.
“I’m under no illusion as to how difficult Hong Kong can be and the reputation it has for being one of the toughest jurisdictions,” Ferraris said.
“I’m a little bit disappointed because I was happy with the way it started out and how I was going but it had gone a bit quiet on me the last couple of weeks. Now I’ve had two winners in the last two meetings, it’s definitely good to pick the momentum up again.”
Ferraris will hope the winners continue to flow at Happy Valley with four rides on Wednesday
night. Fast Pace in the Class Three Tsui Man Handicap (1,650m) and Storm Warnings in the Class Three Sing Woo Handicap (1,200m) are probably his best chances on the card.
“It’s hard to single one out,” Ferraris said. “Fast Pace and Storm Warnings have got the best chance on paper. Fast Pace is a soldier and Storm Warnings is starting to come to hand now and should go well.”
A rousing win in the G1 Cape Town Met aboard Rainbow Bridge, this is just one of @LukeFerraris' many jaw-dropping exploits in South Africa prior to arriving in Hong Kong.
No matter how those mounts run at the Valley, Ferraris is itching for a return to huge crowds and has happy memories of vibrant racetracks from his childhood.
“I remember growing up and playing in the playground when I was very young and you always knew when the horses cornered into the home straight because the grandstands started to shake,” Ferraris said.
“It was just a huge amount of noise and now there are no spectators, it is eerie and a bit weird. You get the most amount of people in the crowds in Hong Kong and now there’s
absolutely no one. It’s very different.”
While there will be no shaking stands at Happy Valley on Wednesday night if Ferraris were to grab a winner for the third meeting in a row, punters could be wise to keep an eye on his mounts as momentum can be tough to stop.
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