Ipoh lad Amirul Ismadi was back with a bang on Sunday after he brought up a riding double.
Jockey Ismadi Ismail’s son has been going through a quiet patch since the last of his 2017 wins, Taramea, for his master Stephen Gray on February 12.
Amirul had not disappeared from the scene. Riding opportunities had just somehow dropped, but he never gave in to despair.
Laughing Buffalo (Amirul Ismadi) overpowers favourite Danzeb (Oscar Chavez, obscured) close home in Race 5, picture Singapore Turf Club
Along came trainer Cliff Brown, who himself had not led in a winner for over two months (since Mr Fatkid on May 14), and who entrusted his only two runners of the day to Amirul. The 23-year-old rose to the challenge with a 100 per cent strike rate.
He first renewed acquaintance with that sweet taste of victory aboard $120 outsider Apollo, a New Approach four-year-old who had struggled to find the line at 11 previous local outings, but who suddenly mustered a flying finish in the $35,000 Class 5 Division 1 race over 1400m.
Two races later, Amirul hopped aboard Brown’s second runner, another lukewarm chance in Laughing Buffalo ($93) in the $35,000 Open Maiden race over 1600m, and just like with Apollo, timed his run to perfection to get the money ahead of the well-backed pair of Lim’s Sparkle (Zawari Razali) and $17 favourite Danzeb (Oscar Chavez).
“It’s been five months since my last win. I’ve been counting the days, and it’s a huge relief to finally win a race again,” said Amirul who finished fourth on the apprentice log last year on 13 winners.
“I’m really thankful to Mr Cliff Brown for giving me those two horses to ride. He’s started to use me recently and it’s an honour and privilege to ride for him, and to win on both is even more special.
“To be honest, I thought Laughing Buffalo had a better chance as Apollo was quite disappointing at his recent runs, but they both ran very well today.”
Amirul, who famously won two Perak Derbies (2015 and 2016) with Littlebitofjoy, the second time for his father, would not dwell on his lack of success in recent months, just happy to have finally snapped the run of outs.
“I was working as hard as ever, but for some reason, I was not getting on many good horses,” he said.
“The competition is tough and I’m not the only local rider struggling to get rides. But I’m as keen as ever as I’m there every morning riding work.
“Hopefully, these two winners will be the trigger for more wins soon.”
Amirul’s third ride for the day in Race 8, Taramea, finished out of the placings.