Supersub Amirul picks up a double
With Noh Senari sidelined, 2kg-claimer gets two winning rides on Elite Power and Wolf Warrior
Like they say, you should never look a gift horse in the mouth.
And, on Sunday, the "gifts" came, not once, but twice and both times, apprentice jockey I Amirul made the best of it.
The first was a pick-up ride on Elite Power in Race 7. Two races later, he was "gifted" with a winning ride on Wolf Warrior.
What a day it must have been for the 25-year-old rider. The ride on Elite Power in the $70,000 Kranji Stakes C sprint over the flying 1,000m came all wrapped and ready, courtesy of trainer Mark Walker.
With S Noh, who rode the horse at his last win, sidelined, Walker was on the lookout for another rider - preferably someone who could ease the burden of the 59.5kg which his horse had to carry.
Up stepped Amirul, who can claim a similar 2kg allowance. Without a ride in that race, he jumped at the chance to partner Elite Power. The rest, like they say, is history.
As we have begun to expect for the young apprentice, Amirul rode him with confidence and authority.
Upon straightening, things did look a little touch-and-go for the $15 favourite when Mokastar (Michael Rodd) went for broke and pinched two lengths while he just about saw daylight.
However, that was when Amirul earned his riding fee. The youngster kept his mount settled and that ensured he had enough petrol in the tank when he made his run inside the last 200m.
Mokastar had no answer and Elite Power strode comfortably to the line - winning by a length.
"The horse is an easy sit-and-steer horse to ride," said the Ipoh-born son of former jockey-turned-trainer Ismadi Ismail.
"I always had plenty of horse underneath me and I was quite confident he would gun down the leader. It was actually not a bad field at all, very competitive, and Mokastar is not an easy horse to run down, but my horse gave a nice acceleration in the last 100m.
"I'm happy for the owners and for Mark Walker. I believe that is only my second ride for him, and that's my first winner for him now."
Remembering all too well that his charge had earlier suffered a bleeding attack, Walker had always been mindful of not overtaxing the Sakhee's Secret five-year-old.
Even after Elite Power scored at his last start in a Class 3 1,000m race on Feb 6, Walker didn't want to push him unnecessarily.
"He's a horse who had some bad luck at his second run," recalled Walker. "Unfortunately, he bled really bad. But thanks to Dr Dan Shaw, he came back after the vet had worked out a very good programme for him. I just had to space his runs.
"I guess he'll now have to go on turf to show what he can do. He took a while to acclimatise. Hopefully, it's onwards and upwards now."
For the record, it was two races later that Amirul fired home his double for the day when he booted home Wolf Warrior.
Like it was with Elite Power, Wolf Warrior, trained by Alwin Tan, was to have been ridden by Noh. So, and as it unfolded, what was an unfortunate day for Noh turned out to be a red-letter day for Amirul.