It’s been a long time between drinks for talented apprentice jockey Amirul Ismadi, and the thirst quencher could not have come on a more auspicious occasion than Singapore Derby day.
The brakes had indeed been slammed on the win counter for the Ipoh-born rider since Spur Me On on May 5, but riding Wecando (NZ) (Per Incanto) for his master Stephen Gray in the $70,000 Chase Me 2012 Stakes, a Class 3 race over 1400m on Sunday, he was bouncing back into the winner’s enclosure.
Riding the rails from the start, Amirul bided his time on the previous three-time winner by Per Incanto until the gap presented itself as the weakening leader Crown Gift rolled off at the top of the straight.
The better-fancied China Horse Club pair of Nationality and Karisto were still in the vicinity but were not pinging as expected.
Wecando could not ask for more as he kept making a beeline for the post. The China Horse Club duo had a last-ditch attempt but Nationality and Karisto could only settle for the placegetting spots, separated by an identical margin of a half-length each.
The winning time was 1min 23.53secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.
“It’s been quite some time since I visited the winner’s circle,” said a relieved Amirul at the lead-in.
“I’m really thankful to the boss and Mr Chen (owner of Wecando) who supports the stable with a couple of good horses.
“Wecando was at his first start in Class 3, I thought it would be a big task for him, but I’m proud of what he has done.
“I really didn’t expect him to run so well. He can progress through his grades.”
Gray, who part-owns Wecando, was pleased as punch his stable apprentice jockey has found the line after such a long drought.
“It was a beautiful ride by Amirul. I’m really pleased for him as he’s had a bit of a lean run,” said the Kiwi handler.
“I told him to just stick at it, stick at it. He’s a good boy and a good rider.
“I was a bit concerned by the step-up in class for the horse. He picked up eight points and was running in a good field, but he won a nice race in the end.”
A last-start winner in a Class 4 Division 2 race over 1400m on June 15, Wecando was bringing up his fourth win in nine outings and more than $165,000 in prizemoney for the Elaine Chen Stable. -STC