It’s taken 65 runners to get there, but new trainer Young Keah Yong was finally able to savour his first taste of victory after Amistad won on Sunday.
Desmond Koh’s former assistant-trainer has been in operation since July 2017, but had not been able to get on the board with 50 runners last year, with one second and three thirds as his best results to show for.
The 39-year-old Singaporean handler had noticeably been fielding more horses in the new season, and that much-awaited first win was finally his in the $20,000 Class 5 race over 1200m.
For a few seconds, it did, however, look like the young trainer would have to wait for another day when Amistad (Shafrizal Saleh) rolled off the fence after rounding the home turn as the horse to run down, with Prince Ferdinand (Barend Vorster) sneaking up on the inside and at some stage even poking his head in front.
Amistad (Shafrizal Saleh) beats off a strong challenge from Prince Ferdinand (Barend Vorster, obscured)
to take out Race 5, picture Singapore Turf Club
But Shafrizal – who won on the Aussie Rules six-year-old once by going all the way – did not give up as he gave the grey gelding a few more tastes of the persuader, and as he reclaimed the lead 50m out and held it down till the end, Young could exult.
“It’s a great day for me, but at the same time it’s nothing to shout about as we still have to continue working hard,” said Young.
“I take this opportunity to thank the Singapore Turf Club and my owners for hanging on with me even when there were no results.
“Hopefully, things will go better for me this year. I have 25 horses in work and am still in the process of building up my stable. There are more horses on the way in months to come.”
Young, who took his first steps as a syce with former Kranji trainer Charles Leck in 2001, said his instructions to Shafrizal was to lead, especially with a bit of give in the ground. The Malaysian apprentice jockey followed them to the letter, and even if at one stage, they were headed, it all came off brilliantly.
“I’m really glad I have given Ah Young his first winner. I ride trackwork for him at times, including this horse that I know very well when he was with Michael Clements,” said Clements’ apprentice jockey who was at the double having won aboard Let’s Talk Now in the first race.
“When Barend’s horse came on my inside, he switched on again and showed a lot of courage to get the lead back.”
Amistad has now taken his record to four wins and four thirds from 38 starts for prizemoney in excess of $90,000 for the Hwa Yi No 2 Stable.