Young Chinese jockey Qin Yong has come a mighty long way – and not just in terms of distance travelled.
The mature 28-year-old apprentice [pictured below], who is indentured to Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup, rode his first Australian winner at Sunday’s feature Wellington Boot Showcase meeting.
At only his fifth ride in his “adopted” country, Qin Yong won the Benchmark 65 Handicap (900m) on pacy Quirindi gelding Azzie’s Ready ($5.50).
It was his only ride at the meeting, and his 4kg allowance proved decisive, lessening the four-year-old’s weight from a whopping 63kg.
Widdup this morning paid tribute to his young rider, saying the apprentice’s Australian breakthrough was a wonderful reward for his hard work and tenacity.
“Qin Yong has a wife (Yu Lin) and child back home in China, so he is doing it tough to live his dream,” Widdup said. “He joined our stable last year when I took out my licence 12 months ago.
“Gary Rudge (Racing NSW licensing supervisor) rang me and asked if I would be interested in taking him on, and I was happy to do so. He is a terrific young bloke and works really hard. He is a great help to me. Trainers such as Kris Lees at Newcastle have also helped get him going here with some trial rides and a race ride.”
In fact, it was Lees who provided him with his first Australian mount on Grasslands ($12) in a Class 2 Handicap (1200m) at Newcastle on March 22 – only six days after the apprentice’s 28th birthday. Grasslands is raced by China Horse Club, which has supported Qin Yong under its China Dream Project.
Whilst Qin Yong currently claims 4kg here, Widdup has pointed out he isn’t a “greenhorn” when it comes to riding.
“He is certainly not an inexperienced 4kg allowance kid, as he has ridden successfully for a number of years in both China and Barbados,” he said. “Qin Yong rode 30-odd winners from about 100 rides in China, which isn’t yet officially recognised on the world racing stage.
“Now that he has broken through in Australia and with the continuing support from China Horse Club, I’m sure he will start to get more rides at country and provincial meetings.”
Qin Yong was the first Chinese jockey to ride a winner in Barbados since racing began in the island nation in 1845, when successful in the Green Monkey Trophy (1100m) at the Sandy Lane Gold Cup meeting in March 2016.
Meanwhile, Widdup was thrilled with Dissolution’s courageous second to Muraaqeb in last Saturday’s Group 3 China Horse Club Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Day 1 of The Championships.
“He had to do some work from the awkward alley, whereas the winner drew inside and had the last shot at us,” he said. “Dissolution has pulled up well, and hopefully we can go on to the Frank Packer Plate (2000m Group 3) at Randwick on Saturday week.”