Beer, chicken curry for birthday boy Benny
Top local rider celebrates 47th birthday with wins on Nineteen Gale, Beer Garden
It was top Malaysian jockey Benny Woodworth's 47th birthday on Saturday and he celebrated it with a nice double - on Nineteen Gale in Race 9 and Beer Garden in Race 14.
Both came in for some betting, despite having not shown recent form. They paid $33 and $31 respectively.
But there was no big party with family and friends after the day's races, not with the Covid-19 restrictions anyway.
Back at home, his wife, Andrianna Mathuvirin, cooked a simple chicken curry dinner to celebrate with their two sons, Nygel Teeha and Nyann.
The top local rider of last season, by virtue of his runner-up position to Vlad Duric in the premiership table, rode a confident race on the David Kok-trained Nineteen Gale in the $20,000 Maiden event over the Polytrack 1,600m.
He jumped the horse out in a flash and sat midfield with a ground-saving run on the inside. Codigos set a brisk pace.
Making his run from the home turn, Woodworth had Nineteen Gale improve to third on straightening. He hit the front with 150m left to run for an easy two-length win from the well-fancied Sun Holiday.
Nineteen Gale showed three-figure odds in his last six starts. But he showed some support on Saturday, with his dividend plummeting by almost half in the last couple of minutes.
While a little surprised, Woodworth noted that, although his mount was unplaced last start, he finished only about four lengths behind the winner.
"The field was also a bit weak. We were only frightened of No. 1 (Sun Holiday)," he said.
Turning to Beer Garden, who was unplaced in his last four starts, three of which were on the Polytrack, he said: "Beer Garden is a better horse on the turf. With the good draw, he just went to the front and pinched another few lengths in the straight to win the race."
Also unfancied in his last few runs, the Jerome Tan-trained four-year-old was backed to $31 in the $50,000 Class 4 Div 2 race over 1,200m.
The winner was the second leg of a double for Tan, who took Race 8 with $75 outsider Cizen Lucky (apprentice jockey Mohammad Nizar aboard).
Woodworth and Tan missed a treble when The Brotherhood beat all but the $10 favourite I Am Sacred in Race 10.
Their horse was the last to leave the stalls, but came well to finish 11/4 lengths behind.
"He missed the kick, because he was a bit fractious in the barrier. But he ran on well. He lost to an up-and-coming younger horse," said Woodworth.
The double brought his tally to seven winners since he came from his Johor Baru base to serve a two-week quarantine to ride at Kranji's racing resumption on July 11, after three months of shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Overall, he has ridden 20 winners this year to be fourth in the premiership table, led by Duric with 48 winners.