Gloss taken off first win

Hong Kong-born Ming Cheung left the Te Teko racecourse today with a mixture of feelings after recording his first raceday win.

Cheung, who is apprenticed to Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie, was successful aboard stable representative Soirette in the Eastern BOP District Trust 1400, but the thrill of a first win was dampened by a suspension.

Cheung was found guilty of careless riding over the final stages of the event in that he allowed Soirette to shift out when not sufficiently clear of Road To Nowhere. Road To Nowhere had been tracking Soirette and the movement by the winner resulted in her clipping heels and dropping rider Rogan Norvall, who was lucky to escape serious injury.

Cheung went on to get Soirette home first by a short neck from the Graeme Forbes-trained You’re In Luck, who had looked the winner 100 metres out but was nabbed late. Tinker Rose completed a Cambridge trifecta when battling well for third for trainer Shelley Baikie.

Though obviously pleased to break through for his first win, Cheung was wasn’t about to let himself get too excited, knowing he had a suspension to go with the win. He was found guilty of careless riding and suspended for 14 days, up to and including September 19.

Despite the suspension, Cheung deserved to finally notch his first success, the big occasion coming at his 15th raceday ride. His previous rides had brought a couple of seconds and three thirds.

“I thought I might get my first winner today,” said Cheung. “I have been riding her in work every day and she has kept improving. I felt confident she would go well.”

Cheung has been in New Zealand for six months and the 20-year-old’s previous experience had included riding trackwork for Tony Millard in Hong Kong.

“Shaune (Ritchie) is a good boss and helped me a lot and Roger (stable foreman Roger O’Neill) has looked after me, too,” said Cheung.