Bridle the Runners, Saddle the Winners





In association with the jockeys, those important men are the trainers, must not be ignored.





In the amateur years of racing, trainers and owners were often one and the same person.

They often had to break in their own griffins, which for the first few months at least proved to be a bruising experience.





The followings are the records about trainers:



The invincible pony from Northern China, BLACK SATIN, by this time, was owned by Paul Chater of Hongkong.

His 26-win rider was M.C. Nickels, a Shanghai commercial employee whom Chater engaged as his jockey and trainer.



During a members meeting, Mr Henry Humphreys moved that handicap events at the Annual Race Meeting be abolished,

“I maintain that the training gallops have nothing to do with it and no notice should be taken of them, as they are only for the owner, rider and trainer.”



HKJC imported a starting barrier net, with which trainers began practising, and later this contraption of tapes came into regular use in races.


Col. Dowbiggin in his reminiscences said that before 1930 the owners preferred to train their own ponies, with the assistance of riding boys.

He adds, “In my early days the outstanding trainer was Curreem, who had a very successful career training for Sir Paul Chater and Sir Hormusjee Mody, though he never rode.

The era of the Russian trainers here dates from the introduction of the ‘Z Class’ pony.



Among the first, carrying such as unofficial title, was Mr N. Tiukavkim (Mr Thomas), who came down to train for Tam Pearce.

He later retired in Australia.

Every day he and most of the other Russian trainers all rode their ponies in training daily.

Also among the earliest was Mr Krasnoperoff, who came down from Shanghai to train for the powerful stables of Mr and Mrs L. Dunbar.

He, like Curreem, never rode, but he was undoubtedly a very successful trainer.

Horses were trained about equally between Russian and Chinese trainers at that time.



Mr Sutton (Clerk of the Course) said the trainers and mafoos had been instructed to take the ponies anti-clockwise along WongNeiChong Road and via the crossroad (Sports Road) past the Golf Club and into the paddock. (At that time tram-cars did not run right around the Valley).



Nick Metrevelli, the trainer of the Jardine Stables from that year, officially won seven of his first 1953-05-02 Derby and his last 1974-01-05 Derby.



George Sofronoff, a trader of Mongol ponies to Shanghai and brought Moller’s string of race ponies to Hong Kong, thus, became a licensed trainer in Hong Kong before WWII.



P. & O. liner in port hosted aboard the vessel at a luncheon party tendered to the owner, trainer and rider of the winner of the P. & O. Cup.



The title of trainer was officially added on record, 1948-01-19, the 71st Derby, ATAMAN, owned by Grebro, trained by N Tiukavkin, ridden by E A Brodie, 1-1/2 miles.



Among some of the documentations appeared for the first time in the racing record a comparative list of trainers.

Most of the leaders every year had been a Russian until the pre-professional racing ended.



There were employed in the stables 14 trainers, half of them Russian and half Chinese.





1970-05-25, at a meeting of the Stewards, Peter Williams suggested that there be a study and report on the feasibility of introducing professional racing.

Then, the new era brought top-flight jockeys and trainers from abroad complement the talent and enthusiasm which had already been so evident in Hong Kong.


However, two trainers who successfully spanned both amateur and professional eras were Russians, George Sofronoff and Nick Metrevelli.


Nowadays, in the leading division are also trainers being trained by the Hong Kong Apprentice Jockeys School many years ago.


Famous international trainers always compete with local and expatriate trainers during international races.


Gone were the days when those openly or secretly hired by big stables did not enjoy the same cachet as present-day trainers and were referred to simply as head of the strappers, or ‘mafoo number one’.


Trainers after WWII and trainers after the Millennium became more important men, who more obviously must not be ignored.





In addition to the day to day care involved such as feeding, caring, stabling and exercising horses, a trainer is also responsible for the race to race tactic, stretgies, riding instructions, year to year selection, auctioning and purchasing new bloods, reporting to owners, and administration aspects such as entering horses to races and their transportations and retirements.





trainer – video showcase

trainer – photo gallery



Acknowledgment to Mr Lacuda Mengnah for relevant data.





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