Racing

Well done, jockey Shafrizal

Royal Pavilion gives newly promoted jockey belated birthday present

It may be a week late, but jockey Shafrizal Saleh was presented a belated birthday present by a horse that he has probably grown fond of.

Royal Pavilion, prepared by champion trainer Michael Clements for Tivic Stable, on Saturday produced his characteristic late spurt in the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1,800m under Shafrizal, who celebrated his 33rd birthday a week earlier.

The Penang-born rider has been having a good run with the five-year-old Australian-bred.

At the preceding three starts, he got another win (over 1,600m), a second and a third. In three partnerships in 2019, they garnered two thirds and a fifth.

Shafrizal, who was promoted to the jockeys' ranks recently, rode a patient race.

Although it was Royal Pavilion's first attempt over 1,800m, he knew his mount has the stamina to handle the trip. He had given the feedback to Clements' deputy Michael White aka "Chopsy" at Kranji.

Settled ahead of only a couple of runners in the race, Royal Pavilion exploded away once he was angled to the outside as he went through a gap between Luck Of Master and Global Kid at the top of the straight.

While inclined to hang in, the son of Casino Prince asserted his superiority in the last 200m to beat the favourite Special Ops (John Powell) by 11/4 lengths.

The winning time was 1min 48.46sec. He paid $58 for a win.

"When he won over 1,600m, I told Chopsy he can go longer. He has got big strides," said Shafrizal.

"He was hanging in once I passed the other horses, but that's what he always does.

"I couldn't ride a winner last week, but I'll take this as my birthday present!"

White praised Shafrizal for his handling of the horse.

"Shafrizal rides great. He's been riding terrific without winning many races," he said.

"It's good for him as he rides a lot better than what his record suggests. It's just circumstances or whatever reasons that have worked against him. Today's win was no fluke."

Royal Pavilion has earned nearly $170,000 from five wins and six placings.

HORSE RACING