Troy See honoured to ride in Mauritius
Among the 13 rides allotted to Kranji's leading apprentice jockey is Ouzo, which shares the same name as Singapore's inaugural SIA Cup winner
Kranji's leading apprentice jockey Troy See to ride Ouzo may sound like a bad Kranji remake of the old Back To The Future franchise.
But that may well be the main headline to have come out for Singapore's representative from the draw for rides of the Air Mauritius & Attitude International Jockeys' Weekend (IJW) 2018 in Mauritius on Wednesday night.
If you are still sniggering about heads softened up by a surfeit of tropical sun or Mauritian rum, it's not the case - or at least, not yet.
See has indeed drawn a horse named Ouzo among the 13 horses he was allotted at the ceremony staged at the Attitude Ravanela Hotel.
Not that Ouzo, who gave Singapore its one and only success in the now-defunct $3 million Singapore Airlines International Cup, sensationally at its very first inception in 2000 with Saimee Jumaat aboard, and would now be 25 years of age.
This new Ouzo is a Mauritian-trained galloper, obviously named by owners inspired by the same Greek liqueur - and for good reason as the dam is Anise, the main ingredient of the aperitif.
See, who is still an apprentice jockey but comes out of his time on Jan 1, was still in primary school when Ouzo, the Eres Tu Stable-owned version ruled the Singapore turf. But he straightaway joined the dots when the name Ouzo popped up in his ballot box.
"I wish it was the same Ouzo. But I heard he was my best chance among my 13 rides," said See, who landed in Mauritius with wife Peiwen on Tuesday evening.
"I had Brandon Louis (Mauritian apprentice jockey set to start a three-month stint in Singapore next year) by my side at the draw and he was giving me all the juice on the horses I drew.
"I also met Ouzo's owners and they gave me some more pointers. It sounds like he will be a favourite in his race, and I can only go out there and try my best."
Ouzo is running in the Zilwa Attitude Cup tomorrow in Race 5 and, with a handicap of 58.5kg, is among the lightest weights See will be slapped with over the double-weekend action (second leg of the jockeys' challenge is on Sunday).
"My lightest is 57.5kg (Jet Path on Sunday). I can enjoy the buffet at the hotel a bit better," said See, who, in a not too recent past, was struggling to make lighter weights.
But See is not at the Indian Ocean island on a gastronomic tour. He is hell bent on making a good fight of his first jockeys' challenge, especially after he was agonisingly deprived of his seat through suspension in the Premier Gateway International Jockeys Challenge in Singapore in September.
It's a huge honour for me to represent Singapore at this prestigious jockeys' series.Apprentice jockey Troy See, on representing Singapore in the Air Mauritius & Attitude International Jockeys' Weekend
Just to be there among international heavy-hitters like Maxime Guyon, Robbie Fradd, Dwayne Dunn, Seamus Heffernan, to name a few, had the Singaporean pinching himself.
"It's a huge honour for me to represent Singapore at this prestigious jockeys' series," said See. "I'm really flattered to be picked. I will be turning 30 soon, but I'm still the new kid compared to these much more accomplished jockeys from around the world.
"It's a milestone in my life. I will never forget, whether I win a race or not, because it happened when I also celebrated my 30th birthday."
The annual Mauritius jockey's series has attracted 11 other top jockeys from around the world, namely previous winners Maxime Guyon (France) and Robbie Fradd (South Africa, and just-crowned Mauritius champion jockey), former three-time Singapore champion jockey Manoel Nunes (Brazil), local hero Jameer Allyhosain, and also newcomers Dwayne Dunn (Australia), Seamus Heffernan (Ireland), Manuel Martinez (Chile), Akshay Kumar (India), Aurelien Lemaitre (France), Mickaelle Michel (France), and Kranji-based Nooresh Juglall, who, however, will represent his home town.