Champion jockey Manoel Nunes will have to forego the ride on Infantry, one of the favourites in this Sunday’s $500,000 Group 1 Patron’s Bowl (1600m) after he hurt his ankle at the races on Sunday.
The Brazilian fractured his left ankle as a result of a fall from Happy Baby (who ran second to Justice Light) during the pull-up in Race 4, and will actually be sidelined for three weeks.
The three-time Singapore champion jockey underwent surgery to the injured area on Monday and was able to return home the very next day. Despite that latest setback, Nunes, who currently sits in third place on 33 winners, five behind leader Vlad Duric, was trying to stay in good spirits.
Manoel Nunes will have to give way to Nooresh Juglall on Infantry in the Patron's Bowl this Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club
“The surgery went well. They put a screw in and the doctor is happy with everything,” said Nunes.
“They did not put a cast on, just a bandage, but my doctor will take another look at my ankle on Thursday and decide if I need to wear a moon boot.
“I just need to rest and relax now, and I should be able to come back riding in three weeks’ time, meaning I should be okay to ride in the Derby.”
The Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (2000m) will be run on July 9 and is the third and final Leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge, of which the Patron’s Bowl is the second Leg. Nunes is aware such untimely injuries and missed opportunities can be frustrating, but they are part and parcel of racing, and it was not the end of the world.
Last year, he was felled by kidney stones a few days before the running of the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup, which was in the end won by his mount Titanium with replacement rider A’Isisuhairi Kasim up.
“Of course, I’m a little upset I will miss the ride on Infantry in the Patron’s Bowl. The horse is in very good form, and this happens; it’s just bad timing, but what can I do,” he said.
“I galloped him last Saturday and it was an absolutely beautiful gallop. I’m very happy with him and the way he has come along.
“As I’ve always mentioned, he’s a lovely horse and I think Alwin (Tan), (assistant-trainer) Joe (D’zulkifliy) and the syce have all done an amazing job to bring him to the top of his game.
“The 1400m (of the Stewards’ Cup where he ran a half-length second to Alibi) was too sharp for him, but he still ran a good race. He’s more mature now and will appreciate the mile and the 2000m of the Derby better, like he showed when he won the (Group 3) JBBA Moonbeam Vase (over 1800m).
“Nooresh Juglall will take the ride on Infantry and I hope the horse wins on Sunday. I will definitely be watching from home!”
Upon learning of Nunes’ sudden unavailability, Tan and the Thai owners of the gelding, the Kajorn Petch Racing No 2 Stable quickly went looking around, and could not have found a better replacement in Juglall, who rode Infantry at his first two starts, coming up with one win and one second.