Powell forced to sit and watch
Hip injury brings veteran Kranji jockey's Mauritius adventure to a premature halt
He certainly didn't want it to end that way, but that's racing.
Kranji veteran John Powell had picked up an injury and could only sit and watch as the action in the 2019 Attitude Hotels International Jockeys' Weekend rolled into Sunday in Mauritius.
What made it even more disappointing for the Australian hoop was that he had got himself to an encourging start at the first leg on Saturday.
But accidents happen and Powell hurt his hip after he was thrown off his mount, Anza-Borrego, who had stopped abruptly after the finish line after running into third spot.
Powell said he felt some pain, but thought he could press on. Indeed, he even went on to win the next race on board Carlton Heights, but knew he was in trouble the next morning.
The pain had worsened overnight. He still went to the Champ de Mars racecourse hoping against hope. But the Mauritius Turf Club doctors delivered the bad news when they declared him unfit to ride.
"I thought I'd be okay," he said. "But on Saturday night, I couldn't sleep, and in the morning, I went for a walk to free it up, and even tried to soak it in a hot bath, but it was still hurting.
"I'm very disappointed that I couldn't ride on Sunday as I wanted to be out there. I had such a great first day, but that's the way it is at times."
Ending Day 1 in eighth place on 11 points (nine points for the Carlton Heights win and two from his third on Anza-Borrego) and only 13 points off the leader Manoel Nunes, Powell had been looking forward to improving on his score. But it wasn't to be.
Still, the thrill of riding again before a public he knew so well from his Mauritius riding days in the 1990s and mid-2000s went some way towards easing the disappointment and pain.
"I still had a great time riding again in Mauritius, catching up with old friends - and riding a winner was even better," said Powell, who finished 10th from the 14 competing jockeys (including two replacements).
"It's not the end I would have wanted. But at the same time, I don't think it would've made much difference to my score as my rides on Sunday didn't do much good."
It was three-time Singapore champion and current Mauritius champion jockey Nunes who consolidated his Saturday lead (from only one winner - Greatfiveeight and many placings) with another three winners - All Aboard, Haylor and Zigi Zagi Zugi - on Sunday to claim the top prize easily.
The Brazilian totalled up 52 points, 14 ahead of UK's latest whiz kid Jason Watson. Former Kranji-based Nooresh Juglall took third on 31 points, eight points better than New Zealand's Jason Collett.