where the horse is always the hero
Article Item
Posted 2023-09-13 22:17:21  
First Happy Valley ride... No problem for De Melo

In a meeting of firsts on Wednesday night, September 13th, at Happy Valley's season-opening fixture, Keagan De Melo and Andrea Atzeni celebrated significant breakthrough victories with momentum-building triumphs.

Recruited to bolster Hong Kong's world-class jockey ranks, Keagan De Melo, the reigning South African champion, and European Classic-winning jockey Andrea Atzeni showcased impressive credentials in decisive fashion at only the second meeting of the season with their fourth and fifth rides, respectively.

De Melo succeeded at his ride around the unique contours of Happy Valley's city circuit when Caspar Fownes-trained Valhalla won the Class 5 Yi O Handicap (1200m) - only three days after the pair had finished fifth at Sha Tin on September 10th.

Atzeni quickly followed suit when the Sardinian prevailed on Mega Bonus for trainer Ricky Yiu in the second section of the Class 4 Tai O Handicap (1200m).

De Melo displayed telling poise in the straight when Valhalla was blocked for a rails run, coolly changing course before peeling out to down Vamos and Multimore.

De Melo was predictably elated after breaking through and expressed his gratitude to Caspar and his team for the opportunity. He mentioned, "It’s a good start, and I enjoy these types of courses, so hopefully it can be onwards and upwards from here. Everyone says how tough it is, and to get a breakthrough like this very early, I'm very lucky to be in this position."

Fownes was delighted to have snared a win with Hong Kong International Sale graduate Valhalla, who placed only once in 16 previous starts. He said, "It’s unfortunate because in his first ‘prep’, before his first start, I thought he was flying and then he fell over badly and had a couple of problems and he was never the same horse. It’s been a long journey back. I appreciate the owners being patient and I hope we can repay them again.”

Referring to De Melo, four-time Hong Kong champion trainer Fownes said, “Obviously the guy can ride, being champion of South Africa. He’s obviously got talent and it’s like anything – if you get the opportunities you can perform. I'll throw a few decent rides his way, and I'm sure others will start to support him. I wish him the best.”

Atzeni rode in Hong Kong during the 2014/15 season and has returned with renewed determination and zest. He expressed his satisfaction with the win and Ricky Yiu's support, stating, "The place (Hong Kong) hasn’t changed much, but what I would say is I have changed, which is the main thing, and I’m enjoying it."

Derek Leung and Luke Ferraris shared riding honors with doubles. Leung prevailed on Manfred Man’s Kowloon East Star and David Hayes-trained Harmony N Blessed, while Ferraris made an equally auspicious start to the season with a brace aboard Francis Lui’s Hameron and Xponential for Douglas Whyte.

Francis Lui also slotted a double with Joy Coming, ridden by Keith Yeung, and Hameron. Hugh Bowman and Tony Cruz continued their bright starts to the season with D Star.

Overall, it was a night of impressive victories and renewed determination for these talented jockeys and trainers at Happy Valley's season-opening fixture. 

Email link to a friend | Printable Version
  • Hong Kong
    Displaying 10 ResultsSee All
    romantic warrior pips voyage gold cupbubble in great renewal of 2 days ago

    Enhancing status as one of the world’s premier middle-distance gallopers with gripping victory...

    View | Add Comment
    south african whyte calls star horse a dream come true 2024-02-16

    Douglas Whyte is proud as punch to train Russian Emperor and the fifth-season handler isn’t ta...

    View | Add Comment
    century up for hewitson in hong kong 2024-02-12

    Lyle Hewitson celebrated his remarkable 100th victory during the electrifying Chinese New Year gathe...

    View | Add Comment
    world's best sprinter gets rider change after purton jocked off 2024-02-05

    In the recent turn of events, the decision to replace Zac Purton with James McDonald for the upcomin...

    View | Add Comment
    jmac and voyage bubble secure place in hk's elite 2024-01-21

    Voyage Bubble secured his position among Hong Kong's elite with a commanding victory in the HK$13 mi...

    View | Add Comment
    de melo riding stint extended to season end2024-01-11

    Keagan De Melo, South Africa's reigning champion jockey, has his licence to ride in Hong Kong extend...

    View | Add Comment
    hewitson's treble highlights good day for south african in hong kong 2023-12-26

    Tony Cruz has his sights on the HK$26 million BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) on March 24th for Fallon, ...

    View | Add Comment
    eustace named as new hong kong trainer2023-12-21

    For almost as long as he can remember, David Eustace has craved an opportunity to train in Hong Kong...

    View | Add Comment
    hong kong champion has own watch collection2023-12-14

    Hong Kong's beloved hometown hero, a magnificent racehorse, clinched victory by an impressive four-l...

    View | Add Comment
    golden sixty stars in hong kong mile2023-12-10

    LONGINES Hong Kong Mile – Post-race jockey/trainer quotes   1st: GOLDEN SIXTY – V...

    View | Add Comment