Racing

Syahir set to test new-found skills

He is among 13 apprentice riders licensed by the Singapore Turf Club

Another comeback kid figures among the 13 apprentice jockeys recently relicensed by the Singapore Turf Club - Syahir Abdul.

The 25-year-old is obviously not as well-known or accomplished as apprentice jockeys Noh Senari or Mohd Firdaus, who were both granted a fresh licence after going bush for a while.

But Syahir did ride at Kranji 56 times between 2014 and 2015, booting home one winner, A Lot Of Hand for just-retired trainer Tan Hor Khoon at his 49th ride on Nov 13, 2015.

It is by no means a flash record, but the former Cliff Brown apprentice jockey did show during that time he was not without potential.

He was keen to learn more, but the chance of honing that craft further, however, hit a few speed bumps. He did eventually get a breakthrough, but overseas.

After he was knocked back for another Singapore licence in 2016, the Ang Mo Kio lad moved to New Zealand where he was first attached to trainer Kevin Myers in the Central Districts before transferring to trainer Terry Kennedy on the South Island.

It was during his stint down South that Syahir hit his straps, winning three races (from 131 rides).

The stay was not without its fair share of setbacks, though, like the foot injury that sidelined him for four months last year.

But overall, Syahir looked back on the New Zealand gig as a significant boost to his riding career - and one that certainly put his Singapore comeback wish in good stead.

IMPROVE

"New Zealand was a very good experience for me. It's given me the chance to improve me as a rider and also to learn a few handy things," said Syahir, whose new Kranji master is trainer Tan Kah Soon.

"The other good thing I learned there was the education of young horses, including breaking-in and jump-outs. As you know, babies are tough to ride, and it's a different set of skills you pick up when you learn how to ride them.

"I'm glad I'm back with a new licence here. It was tough when I had to become a track rider; I did not know where my riding career was heading.

"I also went through bad times when I cut my left foot tendon in a trackwork fall, but I'm glad I was able to recover here with my family.

"When I returned to Singapore for good last December, I first approached Mr Cliff Brown but he already had other apprentices.

"He suggested I tried elsewhere and I was lucky I found a job with Ah Soon.

"Ah Soon used to help me out when I was an apprentice. His boss then, David Hill, also supported me with rides. Now, I can't wait for my first race-ride."

HORSE RACING