Racing

‘Harry’ rues the one that got away

Mr Malek was his best chance of winning the Derby

It has been just four days since the Singapore Derby was run. To jockey A'Isisuhairi Kasim, it is like only yesterday.

He keeps playing and playing the race over in his head and he just cannot believe that his mount, Group 2 Stewards' Cup winner Mr Malek, could manage only a fourth placing in the race won by Hard Too Think.

Or that, his luck had run out.

For those of you who backed Mr Malek, do not blame the jockey. The Malaysian hoop had given his mount every possible chance. But, as he said, the race circumstances just did not go his way.

"Mr Malek was very unlucky, but he also had a few excuses in the Derby," said the lightweight jockey better known as "Harry" at Kranji.

"He just couldn't get a good position in the running and he had to cover more ground out wide. I wanted to get a bit of cover as it was his first time at the distance.

"But I must also say the track was also very firm and Mr Malek didn't let down as he normally does.

"Yes, the race just didn't pan out the way we wanted."

So it was, a crestfallen A'Isisuhairi returned to the scales. He could not really blame himself - and neither did trainer Steven Burridge.

But he could not help wondering if he had not spurned his best chance of adding one of Singapore's most coveted prizes to a trophy cabinet which is nonetheless already impressive for a local jockey.

Ever since his first feature race success on Trudeau, as an apprentice jockey in the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy in 2013, the former two-time Singapore champion apprentice jockey has never missed collecting at least one piece of silverware in a season.

Right now, he has chalked up a tally of 11 Group wins.

"Steven understood and said there was not much I could do. But, obviously, I'm disappointed I didn't win the Derby," he said.

So too, his fans. They had backed Mr Malek down to $10 and they were hoping their jockey would pull it off.

"I've won the Raffles Cup, and the QEII Cup, when it was a Group 2 race, but the Derby is the race I really wanted to win.

"Mr Malek presented me with the best chance there was to make it, but it wasn't meant to be. We move on and I'm sure we'll have better luck next time."

Spoken like a true horseman - and one of the best here at Kranji.

HORSE RACING