The 2014 Asian Young Guns Challenge took place at Clairwood Racecourse on Saturday (2 August) with 12 apprentices riding for their respective countries or regions. The Challenge was a hard fought affair, but in the end Tham Kin Chong of Malaysia won the Challenge with a dominant victory on the Craig Eudey-trained Threshold and a second on Hyaku for trainer Sean Tarry. Rory Hutchings of New Zealand finished in second, with Noh Senari from Singapore and Cash Wong from Macau in joint third. Dicky Lui, Hong Kong’s representative, came joint sixth with two fourth placings and an eighth placing from his three rides.
Due to rides being allocated by a draw system, Lui did not have the best of rides and his best chance (Circle Of Speed in the fourth leg) on the day was a late scratching. Yet he made the most of his rides and the trainers, particularly Michael Roberts, were extremely complimentary.
Riding Tycoon Touch for Roberts, Lui led the field and rated the gelding very well in front. Unfortunately, Tycoon Touch found the 1200m just too far and Lui did well to hang on for fourth. Riding Night Lock for Craig Eudey in the second leg of the Challenge, Lui following instructions dropped the horse out to the rear of the field, but unfortunately the field was stretched out and he found himself a long way off the pace turning for home. From there it was an impossible task and he did well to run on for eighth.
On his third ride, again for Michael Roberts, Lui handled Windy Express, which was clearly a difficult horse, very well. Jumping cleanly from an outside draw, he managed to race two off the fence, just behind the pace. Coming into the final 200m, Lui was able to keep Windy Express running on and managed a good fourth on a tiring horse.
Lui thoroughly enjoyed his time in South Africa, especially the chance to ride on different tracks and surfaces. “This was a learning curve and I really appreciate the opportunity to ride in South Africa. It has been good to see and learn a different way of racing and I have learned a lot from the experience,” said Dicky.
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Dicky Lui, representing Hong Kong, finishes sixth in the 2014 Asian Young Guns Challenge
Eleven-time South African Champion Jockey-turned-trainer Michael Roberts (left) and Dicky Lui smile for the camera.