Racing

Iskandar's back and aiming high

He eyes the 2020 Singapore top rookie's title

Apprentice jockey Iskandar Rosman is back at work at Kranji, nearly five months after his spectacular race fall, and is aiming high - the 2020 champion rookie's title.

Trainer Lee Freedman's protege was doing well last season but fractured his left ankle after his mount, I Am Invisible, crashed through the running rails around the 1,000m mark in a Class 4 race over 1,200m on Aug 18. He ended the season with 10 winners from 127 rides.

Simon Kok, who also lost a few months early in the season through injury and almost a month at the end of the season because of a careless-riding suspension, won the title with 35 winners.

Iskandar, 25, was given the green light to ride trackwork last week and is itching to get back to competitive riding.

"I'm not sure when the boss will put me on in races, but I hope it won't be too long. This year, I'm aiming high - the champion apprentice jockey title," he said.

"Simon Kok will be hard to beat again this year, but he claims two (kg), whereas I claim three. That can make a difference."

Iskandar shuttled between Singapore and his Kuala Lumpur home during his time out of the saddle for physiotherapy and finally got to ride in a trial on Tuesday morning.

He won it - and big - on Freedman's Excelling and was was greeted like he had won a Group 1 race by his master. Excelling romped in by 31/2 lengths from My Dreamliner.

"I got screws and plates in my left ankle. I still walk with a slight limp, but I feel no pain at all when I ride," said Iskandar, who made his riding debut in 2017.

Going on the way Freedman has been taken by his protege's work-rate since walking back through his stable's gates, support won't be in short supply from the Australian.

"I thought he'd need more time since he just came back from injury, but he surprised me," said Freedman.

"I thought he would ride two or three for a start, but he told me his fitness was good, and he's ridden like seven to eight horses every day.

"He had his first trial and he won. Now, he just needs to win the real races, which I'm sure won't take long.

"It's good to have him back after so long. Hopefully, things go right for him in 2020 as he spent a long time on the sidelines last year, both through injury and suspension."

HORSE RACING