The Hong Kong Jockey Club reported that apprentice jockey Philip C. T. Cheng died Tuesday as a result of injuries he sustained in a fall Saturday in the fourth race at Sha Tin Racecourse. The nature of the rider's injruies was not disclosed.
"His outstanding record as an apprentice jockey speaks for itself," said HKJC chairman Alan Li, offering condolences to Cheng's family. "He was a strong competitor and true winner."
Cheng, 20, had 28 winners from more than 480 mounts during his career. His 16 wins last year placed him second among HKJC's apprentice riders. Cheng had entered the organization's apprentice program in 1997, according to the HKJC.
The HKJC stewards determined that the fall by Cheng's mount, For My Wishes, was accidental, with no riders responsible for the incident. The stewards also noted that HKJC veterinarians said For My Wishes did not display any abnormalities prior to the race and that the fall was not due to any defect in the track surface.
According to the HKJC stewards account of the accident, For My Wishes was racing in blinkers and "proving difficult for Phil Cheng to settle" as the field rounded a turn. For My Wishes was about a half length behind Sea Jade and Laser Pride as the field continued toward the half-mile marker. The report noted that the horse Money inconvenienced Laser Pride slightly, cause that horse to shift out. At about the same time, according to the stewards reports, Sea Jade was brushed on the shoulder by Flamenco Star, and was "momentarily unbalanced and shifted in slightly. As a result of the shifting from inside and outside, For My Wishes, which continued to be awkwardly placed, lost its running and its front legs made contact with the hind legs of Laser Pride and fell."
The stewards also determined that HKJC staff and the medical personnel carried out their duties properly and efficiently following the accident.