Racing

Jerome's getting into his stride

First-year trainer is slowly making a name for himself after returning from nine-year Penang stint

Keep an eye on trainer Jerome Tan.

While the name doesn't really ring a bell when talk turns to the training element at Kranji, this unassuming gentleman is slowly but surely laying down his mark in Singapore. It was barely a fortnight ago that he posted three wins on the board.

Pennsylvania saluted on Aug 16. Two days later at the Sunday meeting, Pakatan Warrior and Turf Beauty had his stable cheering when both obliged.

Then, and as if to prove that those three wins were no fluke, Tan saddled a double at the justconcluded standalone meeting on Friday night.

Pakatan Warrior made it back-to-back wins, taking the Class 5 1,800m event by beating Heng Kingdom by a nose, with O'Reilly Star a further length away in third spot.

Four races later, in the last race of the day, Silver Sky won for Tan, beating the three ''D's'' — Despacito, Dusseldorf and Drone — rather comprehensively. As night fell, there was plenty of positives to take away from Tan's good showing.

Then again, there were always going to be brighter days for the 52-year-old. While new to Kranji's ranks, Tan is really an old hand at the game.

For many years, he trained with success across the Causeway. During the nine years as a trainer in Penang, he chalked up 190 winners.

But the Singaporean always wanted to set up shop at home.

Now that it has happened, it's a dream come true, but to get the results rather early into his new stint has been even more rewarding. Granted, it took a while for the first-year handler to hit his straps, he has since February been averaging a winner a month.

And considering that he doesn't have a big team of horses, it's been quite an achievement.

In an interview before Friday's meeting, he admitted that it has taken some time to settle in.

''But the horses have come through. I haven't done anything more special than what I was doing in Penang, just keep to the same routine every day,'' said Tan.

On Friday, both of his winners were ridden by Marc Lerner, who he considers a ''hard-working jockey who rides well''.

While a horse like Pakatan Warrior has brought up a double for Tan, he readily admitted that a trainer cannot possibly rely on the same string of horses all the time. There must always be new stock.

''I have been getting new horses to keep the stable going.'' he said. ''I've got one from Australia, who just arrived and another raced horse from Hong Kong called Cao Cao,'' he said. Yes, while names like Freedman and Brown and Walker roll of the tongue freely when we're talking about trainers, remember the name Jerome Tan.

He's on the right track.

HORSE RACING