Antoine Hamelin stepped in for Aldo Domeyer and started his Hong Kong career on the right foot with a pair of wins at Sha Tin on Easter Sunday.
The Frenchman went into his first Hong Kong race day knowing that first impressions are not only important in Hong Kong racing but also they can make or break a rider, so it was with apparent delight and relief that he weighed-in after his maiden win.
“I’m really happy, there’s a lot of emotion. I didn’t give it a big celebration because it didn’t feel the right thing to do here but I’m very happy inside,” he beamed.
Hamelin stepped out of 14-day isolation only a few days prior and his enthusiasm to get rolling was evident in the powerful drive that nicked section one of the Class 4 Mong Kok Handicap (1400m). His willing steed was the Me Tsui-trained Best For You.
The rider, best known for his partnership with French Derby winner Saonois, is the latest in a long and distinguished line of French jockeys to test their skills in Hong Kong. Already this season, Alexis Badel (26 wins) and Tony Piccone (8 wins) set a solid standard with their completed mid-season contracts.
“It’s very important to win on my first day, that was my objective and now I want to go on and win another race!” Hamelin said.
And he did just that; his second was a blazing dash on the Danny Shum-trained Baltic Success who strode away with the Class 3 Ho Man Tin Handicap (1000m)
“The horse did it very well, he was an easy winner. We got a perfect start and when we got to the front he liked to lead and he went fast,” Hamelin said.
“It’s a perfect first day for me. I’ll try to continue and I have to say thank you to all the owners and trainers for the support and the chances they’ve given me.”