Jockey Michael Dee returns a winner on Starry Night at Happy Valley.  Photo: HKJC

Dee joins illustrious band with debut HK success

NZ Racing Desk
25 May 2023

Michael Dee described his triumphant start at Happy Valley on Wednesday night as a dream as he joined a select band of jockeys to ride a winner at their first attempt in the city.

In partnering the David Hayes-trained Starry Night to victory in the Class 5 Cornflower Handicap (1000m), New Zealander Dee emulated the feats of, among others, Karis Teetan, Luke Currie, Shane Dye and Grant van Niekerk in riding a winner at their first Hong Kong attempt.

Having arrived in Hong Kong on Tuesday, Dee made the most of four opportunities – including a pick-up ride after Vincent Ho was stood down before the meeting because of illness – with a win and second (Sight Hero), third (M Unicorn) and fourth (Lean Hero) placings on a memorable initiation at one of the sport’s most unique tracks.

“It’s been extremely good. I think that’s certainly the dream start – to ride a winner on my first horse but unfortunately, I couldn’t get a second winner,” Dee said, lamenting Sight Hero’s effort to miss by a head after rattling home.

“I couldn’t ask for a better start. That’s what dreams are made of and I was hoping I would come here tonight and for it to be a successful one. Thank you to David Hayes and his team for having me on these horses tonight.

“I’ve obviously watched a lot of races here at Happy Valley. I just think you’ve got to be on your game quite a lot but still ride your race within reason and in a way, still let things unfold.”

Dee prevailed with a typically composed display aboard the New Zealand-bred son of Vespa Starry Night, much to the delight of his partner Mikaela Lawrence and Hayes, occupying a forward position just off the speed before driving the gelding to breakthrough success.

“Inside barrier draws help, he jumped really well and we were able to sit in a prominent position and he was strong effort, so it was a great effort by the horse,” Dee said.

Dee, 27, is the first jockey to post a winner at his first Hong Kong ride since Currie’s successful debut atop Miracle Victory – also for Hayes – at Sha Tin on 30 January, 2022.

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