The Stewards today continued their inquiry into the tactics adopted by Y T Cheng, the rider of STARTLING POWER, in the Zhuhai Handicap which was run at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday, 11 September 2016. The Stewards also continued their inquiry into other aspects of evidence taken during the course of the hearing conducted on 11 September 2016.
At the outset of the inquiry, Mr T K Ng, the trainer of STARTLING POWER, gave evidence that he had decided to remove the blinkers from the horse which was having its first start for his stable as he had noted that in a number of its races, STARTLING POWER had travelled too strongly when wearing blinkers and had then been unable to finish off its races. He said he had hoped that removing the blinkers would result in the horse settling better and allow it to find the line. He said with the blinkers removed, he requested Jockey Cheng to ride STARTLING POWER behind the speed in this race as the horse had been successful on the All Weather Track when ridden from behind the leader in one of its wins. He said that having regard to the fact that STARTLING POWER came under pressure in the middle stages of the race and had subsequently weakened noticeably thereafter, he would give consideration to having STARTLING POWER ridden more positively in its future starts so as to obtain as forward a position as possible.
Y T Cheng stated that after beginning well, he steadied STARTLING POWER shortly after the start in accordance with his instructions so as to obtain a trailing position. He said after the 1000 Metres he was racing beside BRIGHT STRIKE behind the speed, but was obliged to commence riding STARTLING POWER along at the 800 Metres. After this, despite being vigorously ridden, the horse did not finish off the race.
Mr Ng was advised that his explanation in respect of the instructions he provided to Jockey Cheng would be reported.
During the course of taking evidence during this inquiry, the Stewards, in the presence of Jockey Cheng, viewed messages and conversations contained on his mobile telephone. An initial view of a particular message found that Jockey Cheng may have provided information to a person other than the owner or trainer in respect of the fitness of ALMABABY prior to that horse competing in the Yau Oi Handicap at the Happy Valley racemeeting conducted on 7 September 2016. Acting under the powers of Rule of Racing 12(40), the Stewards impounded Jockey Cheng’s mobile telephone so that further messages and conversations sent and received in respect of racing matters only could be examined. Subsequently the Stewards, in the presence of Jockey Cheng, viewed further messages and conversations on his mobile telephone on 12 September 2016. Following this, it was ascertained that Jockey Cheng may also have provided information to a person other than the owner or trainer in respect of the fitness of TIANHUANG before that horse competed in the Jockey Club Road Handicap conducted at the Sha Tin racemeeting on 9 January 2016. Further he may have also provided information to a person other than the owner or trainer in respect of the fitness of LUCKY HAMMER before that horse competed in the Community Chest Cup (Handicap) conducted at the Happy Valley racemeeting on 7 September 2016. It was established that Jockey Cheng had ridden the aforementioned horses in track work and, in the case of ALMABABY, in a barrier trial in the lead up to their respective races when ridden by him.
After questioning Jockey Cheng about these matters, the Stewards further adjourned the inquiry until a date to be fixed so as to consider the evidence.
The Stewards also called Jockey C Y Ho to assist the Stewards with a minor matter associated with the inquiry. After taking evidence from Jockey Ho, the Stewards were wholly satisfied with the evidence that he tendered and accordingly Jockey Ho will not participate in any way in the Stewards’ ongoing inquiry involving Jockey Cheng. Further, Jockey Ho is not the subject of any current Stewards’ inquiry.