South African jockey Derreck David bade an emotional farewell to Singapore with a winner at his last weekend of riding at Kranji.
With his licence not renewed in the new 2018 season, the lightweight rider is calling it a day on his Singapore stint, given he is suspended for careless riding at the next four meetings (two separate charges served consecutively) until the last day of the racing calendar, December 3.
David, who was bringing up his 34th winner for the year (47th in total since he began riding at Kranji in March 2016), came up trumps aboard Shoqeet ($29) in the $60,000 Open Benchmark 67 race over 1800m.
Shoqeet (Derreck David) looms up on the fence to land the spoils in Race 3, picture Singapore Turf Club
The Showcasing four-year-old was actually David’s first and last ride for trainer Saimee Jumaat, with no better way to seal the fleeting partnership than a winning flourish.
Last for most of the way, Shoqeet was off the bridle from the 700m as the pace went up a notch, but David was well inspired to take the shortest route home along the rails, going around runners only once (O’Reilly Dancer - Matthew Kellady) to sprint to the line ahead of Mr Scorsese (Manoel Nunes) with favourite Black Swan (Craig Grylls) beaten fair and square in third place another two lengths away. The winning time was 1min 51.41secs for the 1800m on the Polytrack.
“Thanks to everyone, trainers and owners for their support. It’s been a great journey in Singapore and I’ve learned a lot,” said the jockey of Lebanese descent.
“I love this place, but it’s time to move on, and I hope for bigger and better things in the future. Hopefully, I can be back here one day to please the crowd again.”
The 29-year-old jockey is, however, not heading back to his native South Africa to continue his riding career, but Australia where he said he had secured a contract with Gold Coast trainer Les Kelly.
“I’m going to ride in the Gold Coast for trainer Les Kelly who was looking for a lightweight jockey,” he said.
“One door closes and another door opens!”
David said he knew precious little about Shoqeet (remains to be seen if he was his last Singapore winner as he still has three rides left for the night and another 10 on Sunday) when he was approached for the ride, but was soon smiling after he ran a slide rule through his runs.
“I knew nothing about the horse. On Monday, the owners (Al-Arabiya Stable), Mansoor Gandhi (owner) and Abdullah Alsakaff (racing manager) rang me for the ride,” said David.
“I looked at the ride and I was very happy to be on him. I have to thank Mansoor and Abdullah, and Saimee for the ride.”
Saimee also praised David for his handling of the horse who gave him his first career win as a trainer, in an Open Maiden race over 1200m on August 13.
“From his first win, we knew he was a stayer,” said the former eight-time Singapore champion jockey.
“He is a progressive type and tonight the pull in weights was also a big advantage.
“Derreck rode him well. They went steady early on and then they kicked at the half-mile, that’s why he was a little flat-footed.
“It was a bit of a test for him as he was tackling a fair field and he’s come through it very well.”
With that second win in six starts, Shoqeet has brought his stakes earnings past the $65,000 mark for the Al-Arabiya Stable.