Racing

Big books of rides for Kranji debutante Eaton

Australian lass here on new exchange deal between STC and Racing Victoria

Nine rides for her first two days at Kranji - that's a pleasant surprise for Australian apprentice jockey Jessica Eaton.

Tonight, she will be aboard Paperback Trooper (Race 1), Silent Partner (Race 3) and Yulong Medal (Race 8).

On Sunday, she will hop on Snip (Race 3), Gamely (Race 4), Official (Race 7), Dinghu Mountain (Race 8), Lim's Knight (Race 9) and Our Dynamite (Race 10).

The 26-year-old from Gisborne, North Melbourne, will be in Singapore for three weeks as the first beneficiary of a new exchange deal inked between the Singapore Turf Club and Racing Victoria.

She is placed with trainer Daniel Meagher.

As the 110-odd winner gets a chance to broaden her horizon with all aspects of racing and riding in Singapore, leading Kranji apprentice jockey Simon Kok Wei Hoong will reciprocate the arrangement. He will be transferring his indentures from Steven Burridge to Melbourne trainers David Hayes & Tom Dabernig during the racing break next month.

"I'm really excited to be here. I've never ridden here, let alone visited the country. I've only travelled to Bali before," said Eaton, who made her first steps in eventing before switching to horse racing in 2014, when indentured to Caulfield trainer Mick Price.

"I thought it'd be hard to get rides, but I've got three for Friday and six for Sunday, which is more than I expected. I have to thank Dan, who is the one who has teed me up with those rides."

Eaton, who has never ridden overseas, but did ride interstate in South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia, might not know a great deal about her new hunting ground. But her close links with the Meaghers have eased her into the alien territory.

With her master in Australia being Daniel's elder brother, Mornington trainer Chris Meagher, the choice of another Meagher as her mentor in Singapore was a no-brainer.

"It was like a natural progression to move from Chris to Dan, it certainly makes settling in a lot easier," said Eaton, who had her last rides at the country track of St Arnaud last Saturday with a second as her best result.

"I've had a few conversations with John (father of Daniel and Chris, former Kranji trainer and recent Australian Hall of Fame inductee) about the place. He was more into the history, which was also interesting.

"Chris, of course, spoke to me about the racing side, and Dan has also been fantastic since I arrived in Singapore, he's really taken me under his wings.

"Matty Pumpa was also my coach at Racing Victoria for 31/2 years before he came up here. So that's also a big help.

Eaton was also given the leg-up from Patrick Moloney and Raquel Clark, who both had ridden at Kranji.

"I didn't really follow Singapore racing before, but since I was told I was coming over, I've been watching a lot of replays," she said.

Obviously, still a little disoriented by the new surroundings, Eaton is keen to find her bearings as quickly as possible, not to mention her way to the winning post as well.

"I came here hoping to ride at least one winner, but like I said, getting such a big book of rides at my first week is very encouraging," she said.

"More importantly, I hope the experience here will be invaluable and will help improve my riding."

Eaton, who goes to scale at 51kg, finished sixth on 40 wins in the Victorian Metropolitan Apprentice Jockeys' Premiership of the recently completed 2018/2019 Victorian racing season. Eight of those were at metropolitan level.

As she claims 3kg at metropolitan meetings in Australia, she will be entitled to the same allowance under the local racing rules.

HORSE RACING