IRC Q&A: Luke Ferraris
Most young jockeys take years, even decades, to master the basics of their profession – dedication, acceptance of disappointments and injuries, little food and a hard-skinned attitude to setbacks. With good reason – they’re all thrown in the deep end as boys and some don’t survive the early challenge of establishing themselves in a hugely competitive, dog-eat-dog game where the ‘old boys’ rule and it takes courage, patience and self-belief to make a name for yourself.
At 20, Luke Ferraris has already gone beyond the tough-as-nails basics and he is able to focus on his professional race-riding. He joined the band of Hong Kong jockeys riding in arguably the world’s most competitive jurisdiction last year and has a mid-log 17 winners and over 70 places to show in his first full season.
The son of former trainer David Ferraris, Luke, at 19, was the youngest jockey in the group when he started out last year, but he’d already proven himself to be an elite talent, being named champion apprentice in South Africa twice while winning six Group Ones, and including the South African Triple crown on Malmoos.
Luke grew up in Hong Kong after his father relocated to Sha Tin for the start of the 2003/04 season, spending the majority of his childhood at the famous circuit shadowing his father at trackwork, also while undertaking horse riding lessons as a youth and spending time around some of the individuals he competes with today.
He transferred back to South Africa as a 15-year-old in 2017 to join the well-regarded South African Jockey Academy and rode his first winner on 24 April, 2018 as part of a double at the Vaal in partnership with his grandfather, Ormond, the former master trainer and also dual SA champion.
His list of top-level successes as an apprentice is more impressive than the majority of his rivals can show in a lifetime and includes the Cape Town Met (2021 Rainbow Bridge), South African Derby (2021 Malmoos), South African Classic (2021 Malmoos), Gold Medallion (2021 Ambiorix), Gold Challenge (2021 Rainbow Bridge), Allan Robertson Championship (2019 Miss Florida), G2 Gauteng Guineas (2021 Malmoos), G2 Concorde Cup (2020 Malmoos), G2 Hawaii Stakes (2020 Cirillo) and the G3 Graham Beck Stakes (2020 Malmoos).
Last Sunday he won the $2,4-million Chow Silver Plate at Sha-Tin on Circuit Stellar for trainer Tony Cruz, one of the legends and great champions of Hong Kong who is helping to shape young Luke for a career that is bound to go from strength to strength and going one way – to the top!
Here is our snap Q&A with Luke Ferraris:
1. Full name? Luke Joseph Ferraris
2. Date of Birth? 27/12/2001
3. Steak or sushi? Sushi
4. Superstitions? A few
5. Fav Holiday Destination? Maldives / Philippines
6. Which: BMW or Merc? Merc
7. Who inspires you the most? Family
8. Big night out or quiet night in? Big night out once a while but usually its a quiet night in
9. Left-handed or right-handed? Left-handed
10. Number of winners and number of Gr1 wins? 6x G1’s
11. What annoys you the most? Short head 2nds
12. Race you’d most like to win? HK Derby / The Durban July
13. Funniest person you have ever met? Diego de Gouveia
14. Toughest rival jockey to race against? Joao Moreira & Zac Purton
15. Strict whip rules or no whip at all? There should be some regulations
16. What is your biggest phobia? Having regrets
17. Colts or fillies? Colts
18. Best dresser in weighing room? Alexis Badel
19. Proudest Achievement? SA Triple Crown (Malmoos) & Cape Met (Rainbow Bridge)
20. Favourite course? Sha Tin / Happy valley
21. One thing to make racing better for everyone? Consistency
22. Economy or business class? Business
23. Your star sign? Capricorn
24. Single or taken? Single
25. Bath or shower? Shower
26. Read or Netflix? Netflix
27. Would you rather ask for permission or ask for forgiveness? Ask for forgiveness
28. Nominate someone for our Q&A next? David Ferraris
Nominate a horses to follow for the rest of this season? The Golden Scenery