From Trainers Blood Line; For Runners Brood Fine
1938-07-20, Lam Hung-fie was born in Hong Kong .
Lam Wan-leung learned his trade the hard way from Wong Ah-sze, starting off as a humble stable groom.
Graduated to work riding and then he became a trainer‘s assistant.
These was in much the same way as his son later learned the business in Hong Kong.
Lam wan-leung was a stalwart of the old amateur days.
Finally, employed by HKJC as trainer, Lam Wan-leung decided to make the move to the south.
Through the decade, Lam Wan-leung was always in the top bracket on the trainers’ performance list.
Lam Hung-fie, nicknamed as Ah-Fie was very close with horses due to the influence by his father.
But his future was not confirmed till he was eighteen and his schooling was completed.
Ah-Fie decided that he too opted to make a career out of racing.
However nothing was handed to him on a plate. First he had to learn to ride and prove his worth around the stable, as he was not formally employed by HKJC.
So he worked as unpaid apprentice to his father.
Lam Hung Fei was employed by HKJC, but very much on the bottom rung.
When Hong Kong racing was still amateur and there were not too many restrictions.
Lam worked for other stables as well as his father’s.
Both taught him a lot and shaped his early racing years.
Director of racing Philip Johnston recalled:
“I remember in the 1960s when he was with his father and the Club took an interest in him. It was before we turned professional. In the end he was given a licence but after quite a long time as a stable assistant.”
After HKJC turned professional, Lam was working in the same capacity for George Moore.
Soon, Ah-Fie’s low-key, temperate counsellling defused a potentially explosive situation when early in his career here.
Riding him regularly as a griffin, patiently bringing his along,
The champion eventually promoted to Class One and the rest as they say is history.
But it came a chance for Ah-Fie when Albert Hui was Ward’s assistant trainer as well.
Hui had good performance when he was the jockey riding for Lam Wan-leung in the amateur era.
Though working only three months for Ward, Hui decided to leave for America due to family decision.
Arthur requested Ah-Fie become his replacement immediately.
For eight years both men have enjoyed a most successful working relationship.
“I must say Arthur has been very good to me, he’s looked after me like a son. And I have learnt a lot from him.
But an assistant trainer must know his place, there is only ever one boss in the yard .
I was always careful to defer to Arthur in talking to owners, although frequently Arthur would ask me to do the talking.
But you can’t have one man saying one thing and another man another,” observed Ah-Fie matter-of-factly.
“Two people influenced me most,” Lam said. “My father, obviously, since he initiated me into the world of racing.
Lam Hung-fie became a full licensed trainer of HKJC.
The granting of his full trainer‘s license was the high point of his life.
Lam Hung-fie Stable record:
Season —– Wins —– Total Stakes
1985-1986 — 10 — $1,051,416
1986-1987 — 31 — $4,063,500
1987-1988 — 29 — $4,377,825
1988-1989 — 29 — $5,868,245
1989-1990 — 26 — $6,217,510 — $6,403,280.00 (HKJC official Trainer Statistics)
1990-1991 — 15 — $5,018,273
1991-1992 — 7 — $2,527,725
1992-1993 — 9 — $3,298,925
1993-1994 — 18 — $6,265,188 — $6,265,187.50 (HKJC official Trainer Statistics)
1994-1995 — 11 — $4,417,700
1995-1996 — 14 — $4,642,594
1996-1997 — 7 — $3,454,480 — $3,454,485.00 (HKJC official Trainer Statistics)
1997-1998 — 4 — $2,496,015
1998-1999 — 4 — $2,772,516.50
14 seasons as trainer
Totally 214 winners saddled
Trophy races including:
1987-04-18_4 Tony P H Chan CLEAN SWEEP – Kukri Trophy
1990-04-16_6 Mitsuhiko Michikawa SUPER BULL – Kukri Trophy
Not surprisingly, Lam’s training methods closely resembled Arthur.
Working them very hard and keeping them fit for a long time.”
Lam admitted that he modified slightly what he had learned from Ward.
That’s why as I gain experience, I am doing things a little differently from when I started —- then I had to win to get horses.”
“It all seems a long, long time ago now. I have been with horses ever since I was very young and before officially started with the Jockey Club.
l remember horses from very early days and I never thought I would be doing anything else.
It wasn’t as if l was going to go and be something outside racing, I just wanted to be part of it.
I just want to get on with training them and getting them to win races.” he said.
The HKJC Licensing Committee noted that trainer H F Lam had withdrawn his application for a Trainer’s Licence for the 1999/2000 Season, but would continue to train until the end of the current season.
1986-1987, Lam Hung-fie was the Wong Choi Cup winning trainer.
He was born into the local racing scene and knew no other way of life.
He chose racing as his career at an early age.
Stable hand, riding boy and assistant trainer, Lam made his way slowly up the established ladder with the Jockey Club taking an overall interest.
Ah-Fie had some excellent riding talent at his disposal in his relatively short senior training career.
Globe-trotting Tony Cruz then linked up with Ah-Fie in the season after the Robinson.
Tony P H Chan, the coming up champion jockey also scored for Ah-Fie.
Ah-Fie did enjoy some good times with Julio Pezua.
The pint-sized Peruvian was a big hit with Hong Kong fans and media.
But his style of never-say-die riding did not always endear him to the Stewards.
Other jockeys with Ah-Fie were Australian Neil Williams and Darren Gauci.
The South African star was the last contracted jockey for Ah-Fie.
2015-08-17, Lam Hung-fie passed away due to illness since his retirement.
He was mourned by his friends and colleagues in the racing circle.
Mr Johnston remarked in FaceBook:
“Dear old Ah-Fie, he was a good man and his horses always looked well I will never forget seeing him roll out of the gates when the starter let them go not seeing him in the gate ( he was a starting gate handler then but nearly a goner!! RIP my friend we will all miss you Philip J.”
Acknowledgment to Mr Leung chun-sek for relevant data.
Acknowledgment to Mrs Lam hung-fie for offering relevant records.