Jockey Joseph Azzopardi couldn’t be happier with the way things have unfolded at his first Singapore stint - even if it’s not been all beer and skittles at times.
The young Perth jockey flew the lids at his first couple of months with a strike rate hovering around the 20% area, but a one-month suspension for foul riding aboard Per Inpower (NZ) Per Incanto) back in April put a spoke in the wheel.
Azzopardi has kept the flow of winners going upon his return from the sidelines, even if the intensity has dropped off a notch or two. Though he can’t complain with the support he is garnering, he feels he is just warming the saddle at times.
What he said he needed was a good horse, not for a run or two, but right through. Friday’s debuting two-year-old Mr Malek (NZ) (Swiss Ace) might be the one, he thinks.
The new Oscar Racing Stable-owned son of Swiss Ace will pit the promising skills he showed at his barrier trial last Tuesday against his own peer group in the S$75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1100m.
Azzopardi rode the Lee Freedman newcomer then and even if he still felt raw and unpolished, he has a good gut feel this is some serious cattle.
“He’s not really fully screwed down yet, but that’s one horse I’m pretty excited about,” he said.
“I rode him in a trial. He was still having a good look around, does a few things wrong, but he wouldn’t surprise me if he comes out and wins quite comfortably.
“I’ve ridden a few good horses here, like for the Falcon Racing, but once they win and go well, Vlad Duric jumps on. That’s the way it is, but I’d like to have my own horse here and Mr Malek might be that horse.
“I could of course make a complete fool of myself here, but I am confident he will run well first-up.”
Azzopardi has also been booked to ride No Regrets (NZ) (Showcasing) for Shane Baertschiger in the S$250,000 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) on Friday night.
“It’s an open Aushorse Golden Horseshoe. I don’t know No Regrets much other than what you have already seen,” he said.
“I only watched his replays. That will be his biggest test with so many good two-year-olds in it.
The Auric Stable-owned son of Showcasing might have finished first at his last two outings, including the third Leg of the Singapore Golden Horseshoe series, the IRT Juvenile Stakes (1200m) on June 21, but he doesn’t win by much.-STC