Jimmy Ting will fulfil a lifelong ambition when he joins the Hong Kong training ranks as its newest member on 16 July.
“It is a dream come true,” said Ting, 45, during a press conference at Sha Tin on Tuesday.
“I was surprised but very excited and happy when the Hong Kong Jockey Club gave me a licence. I am very grateful for the opportunity. Ever since I finished as a jockey, I have been working towards this goal so it is exciting to have finally reached it.”
The newly-licensed handler will see out the remainder of the current season in his role as assistant trainer to Danny Shum, a position he has held for five years.
“I am so thankful to everyone that has helped me along the way, from Brian Kan to Danny Shum and every other trainer in between,” he said.
Andrew Harding, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director, Racing, said: “Through the process that saw Frankie Lor appointed as a trainer last year, Jimmy was interviewed extensively and it became clear to us then that it was not a question of if but when he would be granted a licence. He has both the depth of experience and the range of skills necessary to succeed as a trainer in Hong Kong.”
Ting has been involved in the Hong Kong racing industry for three decades. A home-grown talent, he became an apprentice jockey in 1988 to five-time champion trainer Brian Kan before progressing to the senior riding ranks in 1993.
Throughout his 15 years in the saddle, he won 140 races from 3,337 rides in Hong Kong, with his most prominent success coming aboard the Kan-trained Industrialist in the 2000 Gr.1 Hong Kong Classic Trial (1600m), the precursor to today’s Hong Kong Classic Mile. He also tasted success as a rider in Australia, partnering three winners in Victoria during summer stints down under.
“I enjoyed my time as a rider and I had some success, particularly with horses like Industrialist and Right Way for Brian,” Ting said.
Upon his retirement from riding in 2003, he moved into an assistant trainer role with David Hill, a position he held for two seasons before joining Michael Chang in 2005, assisting the new trainer in his first three seasons. In 2008, he moved to the Francis Lui yard, holding the assistant role for five years before his current tenure began with Shum in 2013.
“When Jimmy joined my stable, he already had the credentials and the ability to be a trainer here,” Shum said. “It was just about when would be the right time. Jimmy has been a great asset to my yard, he has been very responsible and has always carried out his duties diligently.
“I’m very happy that he has his licence and I know that he will be one of my main rivals in the coming years. I have given Jimmy the advice that I received from my former boss Ivan Allan – hard work brings luck. It can be tough as a trainer in Hong Kong, but to be promoted to the position means that you have earned your spot, so if he works hard, it will see him through the ups and downs.”
Ting follows in the footsteps of Frankie Lor, who has recorded the most winners ever for a freshman trainer in a Hong Kong season during the current term. However, Ting says that he will not compare himself to Lor and has no particular targets for his first season.
“I hope to have around 30 horses in my stable by the start of next season but otherwise I have not set any targets yet,” Ting said. “Frankie has done so well and of course I want to do as well as him, but I just want to concentrate on trying my best and doing as well as I can do.”
Ting has spent multiple stints in New Zealand and has participated twice in the New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing Hong Kong Assistant Trainers’ Program.
A regular visitor to the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale, Ting is well known to a number of participants in New Zealand and has managed horses in training for clients in New Zealand prior to their arrival in Hong Kong.
While it is good news for Ting, who has limited time to put together a stable before the new season, trainers Derek Cruz (10 wins) and Almond Lee (14), could both be stripped of licences if they do not reach the benchmark criteria of 16 wins this season.