Jerry on a first-name basis in Dubai

Young jockey Jerry Chau’s Dubai World Cup night was a dream come true and he believes he will return to the Hong Kong ranks a better rider.

Jerry Chau aboard the Pierre Ng-trained Duke Wai. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit)

Michael Cox



Thirty minutes before the Dubai Turf and the walkway from jockeys room to scales is a rotating cast of the world’s best jockeys. 

Frankie, Joao, Oisin, Ryan, Yuga and a couple of Christophes … most you can recognise on a first name basis. 

Leaning on a wall watching the passing parade is Jerry, not quite on a first-name basis to world racing fans just yet. Jerry Chau is done for the night and soaking it all up with the wide-eyed enthusiasm of a fan given access to the inner sanctum. 

Chau isn’t just happy to be here though. He has just ridden Duke Wai to a meritorious fifth in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint, his only ride for the night, but is still watching and learning as the world’s best go about their business. 

“I really enjoyed watching how the top jockeys do things, not just on the track, but in the jockeys room, how they prepare,” Chau told Asian Racing Report. “I never thought I would be riding on Dubai World Cup night, it is like a dream come true, riding against world class jockeys like this. It was a great experience for me as a young rider, to get this experience so early in my career.”



Duke Wai finishes fifth behind Danyah in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan. (Photo by Shuhei Okada)

The young local jockey being replaced on a rising talent by an expat rider is Hong Kong racing’s most tiresome old trope, but a local being replaced for an overseas raid is a fait acompli. So much so that when rookie trainer Pierre Ng and Duke Wai’s owners retained Chau for the ride, that was news in itself. 

“I didn’t expect to be here, I actually messaged Pierre and asked which jockey he was going to put on and he said ‘you!’ – so I was really excited,” Chau said. “I appreciate the support, because I know this horse well and I did feel I was the right rider for the horse.”

Ng, who saddled-up two runners at Meydan (Glorious Dragon was unplaced in the Dubai Turf) knows the benefit of an overseas stint. The son of former trainer Peter Ng, Pierre studied abroad and broadened his knowledge base with top handlers like Chris Waller in Australia and stints in the United States. 

“It is what you have to do to get better,” Ng said. “And we are proud to give Jerry this opportunity. Racing against guys like this, he is bound to get better.” 

Jerry Chau and Pierre Ng at Meydan. (Photo by Asian Racing Report)

Of course, it should be noted that Chau rides against world class jockeys twice per week in Hong Kong. He has ridden through a stormy 12-month period to lock down a spot in the top 10 of the jockeys’ championship. Currently ninth in total wins and strike rate, Chau has withstood a fallout with former boss Douglas Whyte – who stopped his backing in February last year – to reestablish his support base. 

As much as mannerisms around the jockeys’ room made an impression on Chau, his main takeaway was on track.

“You can see it in their eyes as they go on to the track, they have a plan,” Chau said. “It was good for me, even though I didn’t win, I got a lot of confidence.” 




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