Hakim’s now an eighth wonder
A week after winning four races, Malaysian apprentice jockey pulls four more out of the hat
He cannot clear tall buildings in a single bound. But, sure as ever, he's shaping up to be a superstar. A superman.
That's Hakim Kamaruddin for you. A claiming rider, he punched home four winners on Saturday - just six days after he had smashed in a four-bagger last Sunday.
Eight winners over two meetings? What's this guy made of? What is he eating? I want some, too. Until the kid from Kelantan put together his four winners on Saturday, I had Entertainer's win in Race 3 as the main story.
After all, Entertainer was our best bet of the day and he had delivered like a champion. He rewarded his backers with a juicy payout of $31 for the win and $13 for place.
He was partnered by Hakim and that was the story. But, when the Malaysian rider put a double on the board with Sun Trek in the fifth and Mustengo in the sixth, Hakim was putting in a claim for the headline.
There was no getting away from it.
He then made certain he was the news and not a footnote when he drove Sacred Croix to a win in the main race of the day. The $100,000 Class 1 sprint named the Golden Ox Stakes.
When was the last time a 23-year-old claiming apprentice had put together eight winners over 20 races on two race meetings just a week apart? It was truly remarkable.
The thing is, as long as he can claim 3kg and as long as he does not allow success to get to his head, he will be in demand.
He will get the best horses and he will continue to win races.
That's nothing new and Hakim has two other things going for him. He knows his job and he works hard - outside of the racetrack and on it.
On Saturday, he opened his onslaught when partnering Entertainer who had previously scored with Ruan Maia astride.
Hakim did his homework and he knew that to get Entertainer home, he had to make every post a winning one.
Trainer Mark Walker, who had a brilliant afternoon with three winners - all ridden by Hakim - had produced Entertainer in the mounting yard looking like a million bucks.
The rest was up to Hakim, who sent the son of Zoustar to the front when the gates opened. If Entertainer could speak, he would have said: "Catch me if you can."
They tried. All of them. Radiant Success, Al Green and Headhunter with Supermax coming into the picture at the business end of things.
Indeed, over the final 50m, Marc Lerner on Radiant Success looked like he was going to spoil the show. But Entertainer was not going to play a supporting role. On the day, he was the star. He knew it and he showed it by hanging tough when the scene got serious.
Entertainer eventually prevailed by half a length. It was more than you could have asked for. As for Hakim, it was just the beginning of a truly auspicious day.
He would pull three more from out of the hat - and you could say, the fun is just beginning.