Luke Ferraris has had plenty of time to think about what his new career in Hong Kong might look like and finally the moment the 19-year-old has grown up dreaming about is within touching distance.
It’s nearly three months since Ferraris’ Hong Kong license was announced, six weeks of which he spent in transit and quarantine, and he’s itching to get stuck in at Sunday’s season opener at Sha Tin.
“I’m wanting to get going now, it’s been a while since I’ve ridden in a race so I’m really keen to get back into the saddle,” he said. “I’m very excited.”
Fittingly, Ferraris’ first race ride comes for his father David and he has a live chance aboard Dazzling Feeling in the term’s first race – the Class Five Mount Parker Handicap (1,400m).
(off at 7am Sunday SA Time)
The five-year-old has his second start in the cellar grade after a close third under Neil Callan over the Sha Tin mile on July 1.
“Dazzling Feeling is doing well and he couldn’t have him in a better space. He’s probably at a rating where he can be really competitive, his last run last season was very nice and hopefully he can reproduce it,” Ferraris said of the gelding, who will carry 132 pounds from gate nine.
“His work has been good during the week, he’s building up to the race and we’re very happy with him. It’s a bit of deep draw to contend with but if we get a bit of luck in running, I think he’s a [chance].”
Ferraris has two rides for his father among his six for the day, with Sunny Smile being the other, while fellow South African Tony Millard has also thrown his support behind the youngster with three rides.
As well as Little Thunder, Ferraris partners a pair of South African imports for Millard in Parterre and Kilindini.
Kilindini returns to the racetrack in the Class Two Tai Mo Shan Handicap (1,400m) after a lengthy absence, lining up for the first time since his victory in the Group One Cape Guineas (1,600m) at Kenilworth in December 2019.
“He’s a smart horse and I’m looking for a good run. I haven’t ridden him in a race in South Africa but I have been in races that he’s run in and he’s a smart horse,” Ferraris said.
“The race that he won takes class to win. He’s got a wide draw to contend with but with a bit of luck in running hopefully he can be there.”
Barrier 12 makes life even harder for Kilindini after his hiatus in a contest that will see him face strong opposition from the likes of Master Montaro, Mister Snowdon, The Rock and Californiadeepshot.
Rounding out Ferraris’ book is the Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained Red Elysees in the Class Four Ma On Shan Handicap (1,600m) – one of four of the jockey’s rides that has drawn gate nine or wider.