Jockey Mark Ewe wins on his final ride
Underrated jockey's licence not renewed but hopes to get it back one day
Underrated jockey Mark Ewe signed out on a winning note at Kranji on Sunday, scoring on the second of his two rides aboard $34 chance Nineteen Gale in the $30,000 Class 5 Div 1 race over 1,700m on the Polytrack.
The Penang-born and Perth-trained jockey's licence for next season was not renewed by the Singapore Turf Club, along with veteran Azhar Ismail and Chin Chee Seng.
Two riders, Oscar Chavez and 2018 top apprentice Troy See, will be coming back, after being granted six-month licences from New Year's Day.
Ewe, a former three-time Singapore champion rookie, was delighted to end his current licence on a winning note, especially for one of his staunchest supporters, David Kok. It was his third winner from 63 rides.
"I'm happy I won on my last ride. But, at the same time, I'm sad I won't have rides in races next year," said Ewe.
"Of course, I'm disappointed my licence was not renewed, but I respect the decision. It's true I haven't had many opportunities, but I always try my best with the few rides I get, as you could see just now."
Ewe was optimistic about a fairytale ending on Nineteen Gale, who had only one win to show for in 11 previous starts.
After settling his mount at the back with only two runners behind, the 37-year-old Malaysian began his run from the 600m mark and was seen improving through the field.
Held up for his run a couple of times, Nineteen Gale exploded away once he found a gap between the weakening The Wild Prince (Koh Teck Huat) and Sun Conqueror (Vlad Duric).
He went on to beat Where She's Happy (Marc Lerner) by a length in 1min 45.56sec.
"I was very confident about this horse. I was supposed to ride him when he won but he had 51.5kg, which I could not make, and Benny Woodworth won on him," said Ewe.
"The last two times I rode him, the distances (1,100m and 1,200m) were too short. Today, he was on his right trip and he finished very strongly as I expected.
"Thank you to David, who has always supported me, and thank you to all the trainers and owners who have supported me all these years.
"I will keep working hard and hope I can get my licence again one day."