Hong Kong’s leading apprentice jockey, Dicky Lui Cheuk-yin, has been banned for almost a month under a “running and handling charge” after an inquiry into his ride on Numero Uno at Sha Tin last Sunday.
Numero Uno led by a big margin at a torrid speed before weakening in the final 200 metres, then Lui reported a painful right shoulder immediately afterwards and was stood down from his remaining rides.
Stewards opened an inquiry into Lui’s ride then adjourned it, and meanwhile Lui undertook an investigation of his shoulder, including an MRI scan on Tuesday.
Friday’s inquiry heard further evidence from Lui, his allotted trainer, Ricky Yiu Poon-fai, and Numero Uno’s trainer, Benno Yung Tin-pang, as well as from Dr Peter Tio Man-kwun, an orthopaedic specialist. Lui was then charged under rule 99 (2) and (5), dealing with Lui’s duty to take all reasonable and permissible measures to win or obtain the best finishing position.
Lui pleaded guilty and stewards suspended him, with immediate effect, until January 29 – a period of eight meetings.
His charge carried four particulars: Lui’s failure to make any attempt to steady Numero Uno once he found the lead; his failure to attempt to steady the pace as he opened a big break on the field; he forced Numero Uno to run at a fast pace in contravention of his instructions to control the pace; and that, by these actions, he denied Numero Uno a full opportunity to win or obtain the best placing.
Chief steward Kim Kelly said Dr Tio was asked to give his professional opinion, based on the MRI scan of Lui’s shoulder, on whether it had been a mitigating factor.
“He said there was some inflammation, but Dr Tio didn’t consider it to be sufficient to prevent Lui making a proper effort to restrain his mount,” said Kelly.