Another Van Niekerk double

Thunder Stomp
Grant van Niekerk guides Thunder Stomp to success.

Jockey Grant van Niekerk has maintained his good form since the start of the year, and, after a double on Sunday, followed up with a brace yesterday evening at Happy Valley (Wednesday, 5 February) to make it 28 wins for the campaign so far.

The South African galvanized the Me Tsui-trained Good For You (129lb) to nick the Class 4 Percival Handicap (1200m) by a short-head in a head-bobbing duel with California Rad (124lb); about 30 minutes later he rolled clear in the Class 4 Wong Nai Chung Handicap (1650m) on the same trainer’s top-weight Thunder Stomp (133lb).

“It’s going well – I just have to stay out of the stewards’ room!” said Van Niekerk, who has a careless riding suspension deferred until the end of this month.

“Thunder Stomp came out so quickly and he’s got such a big action I opted to use it. I got away with a little bit of murder in the beginning because I went quite slow, and, half-way round the turn, when I asked him to extend he responded.”

Winning Ways is perhaps not the most aptly-named horse but the Danny Shum-trained six-year-old was game for Zac Purton as he took the Class 4 Canal Handicap (1000m) – his first Hong Kong win at the 22nd attempt.