Juglall saves best for last in Mauritius

Nooresh Juglall was heading towards a winless day to his one-day visit at his hometown of Mauritius on Sunday until Declarator came to his rescue to spare him the blushes in the very last race.

The Mauritian jockey was invited to ride Solar Star in the island’s biggest race of the year, the Air Mauritius Maiden Cup (2400m) at the racing-mad nation’s only racecourse, the Champ de Mars, with the popular jockey – who enjoys a bit of cult status with his fans back home – invariably drawing a full book of rides on the nine-race programme.

Unfortunately for him, none of his first eight rides obliged including four well-backed favourites like Emaar (second), Var’s Dream (third), Independence (eighth) and League Of Legends (fourth), as well as his Maiden Cup ride Solar Star (fourth) who was beaten fair and square by the favourite, the Steven Arnold-ridden Enaad for the country’s most famous yard, the Gujadhurs.

Nooresh Juglall endeavours to keep Mauritius last-race winner Declarator in a straight line close home. Rock Hard (Ryan Wiggins) sneaks up on inside for second place (photos courtesy of Fantastic Light Images).

Down but not quite out, Juglall went into the last race with one bullet left, 4-1 chance Declarator, and what a ripper of a ride it turned to be as he dug deep into his bag of tricks to save his day in the get-out stakes, the Air Mauritius Holidays Cup (1500m).

Declarator indeed proved a handful after showing the way, especially in the last furlong as he hung in badly under pressure. That elusive win was again slipping through his hands with Rock Hard (Ryan Wiggins) seemingly profiting from the gelding’s waywardness.

But Juglall was not denied his chance to salute before his home crowd as he pulled out all the stops to get his horse to scrape home by a long neck from Rock Hard.

“I’m so glad I was able to save my day in the very last. The horse (Declarator) was a nightmare to handle in the last bit, but he dug down deep,” said Juglall who missed last Friday’s standalone Kranji meeting to make it in time for the Mauritius gig.

“I was able to keep my horse in a straight line even if he wanted to hang in.

“My other horses ran okay, some of them were over the odds, I thought. I probably made a mistake on Emaar, I should have launched him earlier when the pace slackened up, but anyway, it’s one of those things.

“Most importantly, I got a win and that’s what matters. I’m on my way to the airport now and will be back in Singapore tomorrow.”