A quick trip back home might well have reignited the engine for Korean jockey Moon Se Young.
First past the post only once aboard Thunder Cat on June 2 at his fifth meeting and 14th ride, the eight-time South Korean champion jockey has since slumped back to a flat spot, going through 31 rides without winning.
Moon and his wife headed back to Seoul last week mainly to be reunited with their two young daughters, but it would seem the six-day break has also helped reset a few buttons.
Arion (Moon Se Young) returns to winning ways in the opener on Friday, picture Singapore Turf Club
“It was good to go back for a freshen-up,” said the 35-year-old jockey whose current three-month contract runs out on August 7.
“My wife and I got to spend time with our two daughters and friends. I was really looking forward to coming back to Kranji.
“The competition is tough in Singapore, but I really enjoy it. The racing is of a high standard, and besides I have applied to extend my licence until the end of the year.”
Such news will be music to the ears of Arion’s trainer Kuah Cheng Tee, a clear fan of the friendly rider whose command of English has improved by leaps and bounds since his arrival in early May.
“Moon’s a Korean champion jockey and I always support him when I can. He rides a lot of trackwork for me,” said the second-year trainer.
“He just needs more opportunities and tonight he proved how good he was. I just told him to be careful as he missed his start last time, and to just settle him somewhere in midfield.
“The horse broke well tonight and settled off the speed. In the last 250 he sprinted through a gap and won a nice race.
“This horse came to us with a few hoof issues, and a big thank you to the Club farrier for the good job he’s done on him.
“He has come good in recent weeks and has been improving steadily. He is quite limited, though, and it’s only after he dropped back in Class 5 that he’s managed to win his first race.
“I think he’s at this stage only a 1000m horse. I will keep him to that distance for now.”
Previously prepared by Cliff Brown for whom he scored once in a Restricted Maiden race over 1200m, Arion, a four-year-old by Bachelor Duke, has since shown mediocre form before moving to Theo Kieser for one race before finally ending up with Kuah.
Moon said he was all along happy with the spot the $30 chance obtained in transit, sixth not too far off the leader and $19 favourite Barnburgh Lad (Benny Woodworth).
“At his last run, he jump-started, but he was good tonight. The first four horses were going quite quick, and my horse was travelling relaxed,” said Moon.
“I stayed right there, waited and waited and at the 600m, Oscar Chavez’s horse (Double Cash) rolled off and a gap finally came up.
“That’s when my horse gave a very good kick to win the race. It’s great to be a winner at my first meeting back.”
That second win has now taken Arion’s overall career earnings closer to the $75,000 mark. Previously owned by the Olympian Stable, he is now raced by the Emperor House Stable.