MORNINGTON jockey Jake Noonan finished fifth in the Asian Young Guns Challenge at Macau's Taipa racecourse on Saturday night.
The Victorian apprentice headed over with the job of defending the title won by countryman Jordan Mallyon at Flemington last year, but he was always behind the eight-ball after his ride in the second of three heats was scratched. That left Noonan needing a top-two finish in the other two heats to be any chance in the series that brought together the best young riders from nine countries.
Noonan had to settle for fourth in both those events.
His first outing was aboard Happy Strength in the heat won comfortably by local jockey Martin Cangas. Noonan again finished just behind the placegetters in the final heat, won in runaway style by Malaysia's Kamal Yazid.
Noonan collected seven points in each of those events and was allocated six points in the heat that he watched from the sidelines - which was won by Ka Chun Ng - to give him 20 points for the series.
Ng's fifth placing in the final heat secured him series victory on 40 points, clear of Yazid (35) and South Korea's Seung Un Seo (31). Noonan also had a ride in the feature event on the seven-race card, in which he logged yet another fourth placing, beaten by more than three lengths aboard Easy Money.