Ap­pren­tice bounces back in Hong Kong

Matamata Chronicle - - Motoring - DEN­NIS RYAN

‘‘Derek made a full re­cov­ery af­ter un­der­go­ing nec­es­sary re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.’’

It’s well known the risks that jock­eys are ex­posed to as they go about their pro­fes­sion, with no bet­ter re­minder than the close call for­mer Matamata ap­pren­tice Derek Le­ung ex­pe­ri­enced re­cently in Hong Kong.

A decade back Derek spent two sea­sons with Lance O’Sul­li­van as part of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s ap­pren­tice train­ing pro­gramme and rode seven win­ners in that time. Now aged 28, he is well es­tab­lished in Hong Kong jockey ranks.

Rid­ing in a race at Sha Tin, Derek was thrown to the ground when his mount suf­fered a heart at­tack. Worse still, the horse kept rolling and landed right on top of the prone jockey.

When medics ar­rived on the scene Derek was un­con­scious and was later found to have a brain bleed, but thanks to his pro­tec­tive hel­met he was saved from great in­jury. The hel­met it­self was vir­tu­ally de­mol­ished, pro­vid­ing a graphic il­lus­tra­tion of just how lucky Derek had been.

The best news is that Derek made a full re­cov­ery af­ter re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and marked his re­turn to race-rid­ing at Sha Tin on Sun­day with a win. That was just the ticket to set him up as a mem­ber of the lo­cal team for this week’s in­ter­na­tional jock­eys’ se­ries at Happy Val­ley.

Derek Le­ung, pic­tured with trainer Peter Ho to his left and win­ning con­nec­tions, cel­e­brates his come­back vic­tory at Sha Tin on Sun­day.

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