Sin­ga­pore ap­pren­tice feel­ing right at home

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - THEMERCURY.COM.AU PE­TER STA­PLES SUN­DAY JAN­UARY 13 2019

SIN­GA­PORE ap­pren­tice Si­mon Kok broke through for his first win in Tas­ma­nia when he guided the Team Well­strained Geegees Rock Opera to an im­pres­sive all-the-way win over 1350 me­tres in Devon­port on Wed­nes­day.

Kok, who fin­ished fourth on the Sin­ga­pore ap­pren­tices premier­ship ta­ble last sea­son, is ap­pren­ticed to top Sin­ga­pore trainer Steve Bur­ridge.

Kok has been trans­ferred to the care of Brighton-based Hall of Fame trainer Leon Wells.

The 23-year-old ar­rived in Tas­ma­nia mid-De­cem­ber on a three-month ar­range­ment made pos­si­ble by Tas­rac­ing’s ap­pren­tice jockey pro­gram man­ager Stephen Mask­iell.

Geegees Rock Opera was his 23rd ride but, given the way he has been com­ing to terms with Tas­ma­nian rac­ing, he shouldn’t have to wait as long for his sec­ond win.

“I am so happy to fi­nally get a win­ner here in Tas­ma­nia,” Kok said af­ter the race.

“My horse per­formed ex­tremely well and fought it out right to the end.

“Geegees Rock Opera is ac­tu­ally a horse I rode at my first day. The in­struc­tions were to go for­ward. There was some crazy pres­sure on the out­side, but we even­tu­ally got an easy lead.

“I am start­ing to un­der­stand how to ride the three main tracks here in Tas­ma­nia and the Devon­port track is sim­i­lar to the Kranji track at home.”

Kok has also notched a few mi­nor plac­ings since he ar­rived but none more im­pres­sive than his ride aboard rank out­sider Set­tler’s Stone, who he part­nered into equal third place in the $100,000 Devon­port Cup on Wed­nes­day.

He had the John Black­er­trained geld­ing set­tled near the rear and three-wide but with cover and act­ing on rid­ing in­struc­tions he sent the geld­ing around the field from the 700me­tre mark and rode him out strongly to dead-heat for third with an­other out­sider, Kranji.

It was his sec­ond ride aboard Set­tler’s Stone, hav­ing fin­ished fourth on the gelded son of Savoire Vivre at his pre­vi­ous start in the Sh­effield Cup over 1650 me­tres in Devon­port just prior to Christ­mas.

Con­nec­tions of Set­tler’s Stone are con­sid­er­ing stay­ing with Kok for the bal­ance of the geld­ing’s prepa­ra­tion, which in­cludes the Group 3 Ho­bart and Launce­s­ton cups over 2400m next month.

Kok could be the first of many Sin­ga­pore ap­pren­tices to ride in Tas­ma­nia on three­month per­mits.

Tas­ma­nia has had a short­age of ap­pren­tices for years, which is why Mask­iell has been work­ing to find ways of grow­ing ap­pren­tice num­bers with Asia a prime tar­get.

Hong Kong ap­pren­tices have en­joyed a lot of suc­cess in Tas­ma­nia with Vic­tor Wong the lat­est to have earned his stripes over two years here with Team Wells be­fore re­turn­ing home.

Hong Kong young­ster Scar­let So has spent three months on loan to Leon Wells and is likely to se­cure a two-yearvisa, which will al­low her to be fully in­den­tured to Wells.

An­other Hong Kong ap­pren­tice Pe­ter Lui spent three months with Wells last year and his new visa has just been ap­proved to al­low him to start a two-year stint with Wells.

Also ar­riv­ing at the end of the month will be two track­work rid­ers from Hong Kong, which will help to al­le­vi­ate the short­age of track­work rid­ers be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced in Tas­ma­nia. LEAD­ING trainer Chris Waller was talk­ing about a three­p­eat only min­utes af­ter his stayer Tu­mul­tuous be­came the third horse to win back-to­back $1 mil­lion Magic Mil­lions Tro­phies on Satur­day.

Tu­mul­tuous ($4.20) was too strong at the end of the 2200m beat­ing Good­fella ($5) by a neck with a long neck to Black On Gold ($9) in third place.

He fol­lowed Tinto (2014-15) and Driz­zle (2007-08) to win con­sec­u­tive Tro­phies. Waller said Tu­mul­tuous was the ideal horse for the Gold Coast race.

“He won it last year and we set him to win it again right back then. So why wouldn’t we set it for the same race yet again,” Waller said.

“One thing the pres­sure will be a lot less next time. He has won since but not done much and he is a sum­mer horse.

“But this meet­ing is great for ev­ery­one in­volved and it is a plea­sure to win a race.”

Tu­mul­tuous orig­i­nally cost $350,000 but has more than re­paid his own­ers headed by one of Waller’s big­gest clients in Noel Green­halgh.

The geld­ing has now won $1.4 mil­lion with a large per­cent­age on Mil­lions day. Rob­bie Fradd pro­duced a rail­hug­ging ride on Tu­mul­tuous.

“We were able to get a great run from bar­rier one and the gap opened up on the turn,” he said.

HOT AP­PREN­TICE: Si­mon Kok urges Geegees Rock Opera to vic­tory on Devon­port Cup Day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.