Tuesday, 31 July 2012
: Former Hong Kong and Australian based apprentice Cliffy Lai got off to a good start in Macau with a winning double at Taipa on last Friday night's sand card.
| Cliffy Lai|
Photo by Racing and Sports
Lai gave away race riding for almost six years and was only recently licensed to ride in races by the MJC after a probationary period of track-work and barrier trials.
Originally apprenticed to Tony Millard in Hong Kong, Lai has done the bulk of his riding in Australia, firstly under Grafton trainer Phil McLeod and then with Graeme Spackman at Goulburn.
"I rode four winners in Hong Kong in my first year then the opportunity to ride in Australia came up through the Hong Kong Jockey Club and I jumped at that to further my experience. Lai said.
"I was at Grafton with Phil McLeod and had some good success, and then I went back on my own in 2004 and finished my time there with Graeme Spackman at Goulburn.
Lai ride 42 winners in Australia.
For the past few years I have been riding work in Hong Kong and my weight has never been above 103 pounds and I wanted to get back race riding.
"I really appreciate the opportunity the Macau Jockey Club has given me and I will be giving it my best shot."
Lai gave the Patrick Lee prepared Delight Consul a sweet ride from gate five to enjoy the run of the race off the speed before darting through on the inside late to take the prize in the Class 6 over 1350 metres.
US import Oakcrest Drive gave Lai his double for the evening when he made light of his outside gate of 14 to power away from his opposition in the straight for a big win in the 40 to 60 rated contest over 1050 metres.
Lai had a lot of praise for the American import Oakcrest Drive.
On Delight Consul I just came back off the speed went to the rail and rode for luck and it happened and he needed it he only won by a nose.
But Oakcrest Drive is a different class, anyone could have sat on him and won, he is a really good horse.
Prepared by Alan Tam, Oakcrest Drive is a half brother to Si Foo a former class one galloper that Tam put the polish on.
Both horses are raced by well known Hong Kong music industry supremo Norman Cheng.
* PANAMANIAN jockey Luis Jurado kicked home a winning double on Friday's sand program and came within a head of making it a three timer on the night.
Jurado gave the K C Hoi trained Sunshine Cheers a patient ride to prevail in the Class 4 & 5 over 1350 metres.
Allowed plenty of time to settle Sunshine Cheers was a conspicuous last to the corner but saved valuable ground via the rail before weaving a passage between runners to charge home and win by a neck from Woodney (Martin Cangas), with Voguish (Louis Corrales) close up in third.
"He had to work too hard wide in his last start. Jurado said.
"I asked K C (Hoi) to let me give him a chance to settle and he really ran on strongly today.
The consistent Flying Kite provided Jurado with his double when he proved too strong for his opponents in the last of the night in the Class 3 over 1350 metres.
Flying Kite has now won five races for his connections, two at the 1350 metres and his other three wins at the old 1300 metre distance.
Jurado almost made it a treble for the night when he looked home on the Vincent Chong trained Chinese Swifthorse in the Class 5 but was caught in the last stride by Ka Lok Fortune ridden by his brother in law Louis Corrales.
One of the hardest working jockeys at the track of a morning, Jurado is currently licensed until the end of August.
* MANOEL Nunes took riding honors for the weekend with a winning treble on Saturday's card which should to seal his claim for a sixth Macau Jockeys Championship.
With six meetings remaining Nunes is on 70 winners 11 ahead of Fausto Durso on 59, with Stanley Chin in third spot on 50 wins.
Saturday's meeting was originally programmed for the turf but with Typhoon Vincente battering Macau early in the week followed by daily tropical storms the Club wisely transferred the venue to the all weather track.
Alan Tam led in three winners over the weekend to Gary Moore's two leaving Moore with a five win margin on 67 to Tam's 62.
Tam has the numbers to produce a big day and the contest might well go down to the final day of the season on August 25.