Sports

Nunes to err on the side of caution

GOOD PARTNERS: Jockey Manoel Nunes has ridden Spalato four times for four wins.

Sidelined jockey Manoel Nunes could have made his riding comeback at this Sunday's Singapore Gold Cup meeting, but he decided to err on the side of caution and sit out for another week, especially when a bigger carrot is dangling the following Sunday.

The leading jockey, whose name can already be engraved on the Singapore champion jockey roll of honour for 2014 - he is on 102 wins, 32 clear of Danny Beasley with 10 meetings left in the season - despite missing the last six meetings, hurt himself in a barrier-trial incident at Kranji on Oct 21.

Nunes was trotting Laurie Laxon's newcomer Rathausglockel to the barriers when the horse suddenly bucked and dislodged him, and a second time later behind the barriers.

HAIRLINE FRACTURE

X-rays later revealed a hairline fracture on the right wrist and the doctors ordered a four-week rest.

With the injury healing quite quickly, Nunes was in two minds whether he could cut short the recovery time by one week by taking rides this weekend, including the plum ride aboard Stepitup in the $1.35 million Group 1 Longines Singapore Gold Cup over 2,200m) on Sunday.

But, with the ride aboard new Singapore star Spalato looming up in the Group 2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint over 1,200m at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Nov 23, Nunes felt it would be wiser not to defy the doctor's advice.

"I'm okay and my wrist is fine now. I wanted to ride in the Gold Cup on Sunday, but I didn't want to go in not 100 per cent," said the Brazilian jockey, currently recuperating in Macau with his family.

"It could make it worse and I have to stop riding again, which is not something I want to risk now with Spalato's race in Hong Kong next week.

"I thought I'd then wait for one more week and come back to Singapore on Sunday morning. I hope to ride at the barrier trials on Tuesday, ride at the Friday meeting on Nov 21, which will be like a good way to get my fitness back before I ride Spalato in Hong Kong on Sunday."

FRUSTRATING

Nunes partnered the unbeaten John O'Hara-trained galloper, who leaves for Hong Kong today, at four of his first five wins, including the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby over 2,000m in July, but lost the winning ride in the Luzerne Cup to visiting Kiwi James McDonald after he was stood down.

"It's frustrating losing so many good rides. There were at least 10 who won, including those four on the day I was stood down (Spalato in the Luzerne Cup, Afternoon Delight, Darci Charmer and Hardcore Rock), but what can I do?

"I know missing out on those wins won't really affect the championship, but I'm a professional and I still want to go out there and ride winners.

"Another good chance is Stepitup, especially with War Affair drawn wide and carrying the top weight over a trip he's never been tested on. Oh well, I will watch him on TV from home."