Time is up for veteran trainer Peter Ng at the end of the current season, with the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s compulsory retirement age kicking in to bring the curtain down on a career stretching back to the 1980s.
Ng was a regular winner of big feature races in the early 1990s then dropped into the background, chipping away collecting most minor events each season.
But with his retirement looming at 65, Ng has exploded back into top form in the past 18 months, registering one of his career-best win tallies last season and he has kept it going this season with 20 wins on the board already.
On Wednesday, Ng can continue the roll with his two runners at Happy Valley, Asmodai in the opening Class Five and new acquisition High Return in the fourth.
Asmodai had never even earned a dollar of stakemoney in his first eleven starts, but since moving to the Ng stable at this time last year, he has run ten times, won twice and placed four times and collected a cheque in seven of them.
And he was desperately unlucky not to win last time out, over the Valley 1,000m which has been his forte, racing wide before being beaten only a neck in February. He moves to an inside draw this time.
High Return has only moved to Ng this season and will be stepping out for the first time since July after having fetlock problems in September.
Horses shifting stables often produce their better form quickly in the new yard and two impressive recent barrier trials have suggested this seven-year-old is ready to make a high return to racing first-up.
All four of High return’s career wins have been over the Valley 1,200m and that is where he reappears this week from gate one.
By Nathan Mody