With Lucky Patch and Duke Wai, Hong Kong's newest local trainer attacks Sunday's main event from two angles.
Jamie Richards, a fellow rookie, won't have his first Hong Kong runner until next week, but Pierre Ng Pang-chi is going all out for Sunday's season start as he seeks to kick off his training career.
Ng will send about eight runners to Sha Tin this weekend, including Lucky Patch and Duke Wai in the Class One HKSAR Chief Executive's Cup, as Richards opts for a methodical approach (1,200m).
"The past two months have flown by quite rapidly, and I'm feeling a little anxious. I've just tried to make the horses ready in the hopes that Sunday will bring us some joy," Ng remarked.
"Though it was somewhat rushed, I'm pleased with how wonderfully everything turned out. Everything still feels surreal.
Since Jimmy Ting Koon-ho started his career in 2018 with a winner with his very first runner—a feat Frankie Lor Fu-chuen also accomplished a year earlier—Ng is the first local trainer to join the ranks.
I merely made an effort to get the horses ready for the first day. I'll be extremely thrilled if I can have a winner," Ng, the son of former Hong Kong trainer Peter Ng Bik-kuen, said.
I'm just looking forward to this Sunday, and it's fantastic to be in the same rank as individuals you've known since you were a kid.
Because of his experience working as an assistant trainer for Francis Lui Kin-wai, John Size, and Paul O'Sullivan, Ng enters the season with an amazing 52 horses in his stable.
I'm fortunate that some of the owners I've known for a long time have come over to support me, he said.
It was pretty amazing how many new owners called after I had my license to inquire about purchasing a horse, and I look forward to training for them.
Duke Wai could have been Ng's first international runner, but the 39-year-old feels Wai's failure to qualify for the Group Three Korea Sprint (1,200m) at the weekend will wind up being a blessing in disguise.
While it would have been enjoyable, he added, "I would have had to rush Duke Wai for that race. Now I have another week to prepare him, which I think is better for him."
Ng expects that Lucky Patch would offer him an immediate presence on the main stage despite the fact that Glorious Dragon is the horse in his stable with the highest rating (118).
Lucky Patch, a two-time Group Two winner for Lui, missed a significant amount of time after finishing second in the Hong Kong Sprint last year as the favorite, but Ng hopes Sunday's feature can pave the way for a comeback to international day.
"Getting started with this kind of horse is a dream. I'm simply going through the motions and hoping he can improve his form, the trainer remarked, adding that the better sprinters in Hong Kong frequently start in this event.
At the start of the season, Ng also fields Captain Win, Stunning Impact, Infinite Power, Science Patch, United We Stand, and Medic Elite.