Snubbed Orient Express silences knockers

Saimee Jumaat welcomed Orient Express’s first win with a sense of relief on
Friday night.

The former
eight-time Singapore champion jockey said he had been at his wit’s end trying
to get the Pour Moi five-year-old to find the line, let alone a jockey to ride
him in the S$20,000 Open Maiden-2 race over 1200m.

In the end,
he put his apprentice jockey Yusoff Fadzli on, and it proved to be the right
combination for the night, and for that much-needed first hurrah.

favourite and impressive barrier trial winner Lim’s Moment was all the rage and
looking the part when he strolled to the lead, but Orient Express was in a mood
to show some cheek when he clapped onto the speed in second spot.

Moment tried to raise another gallop in the home straight, but it soon became a
clear possibility his short quote would be claiming a few casualties at the
tote window.

On the
outside, another newcomer, Romantic was looming like the one who would lower
the colours of the hotpot, but it was Orient Express who had the last say as he
darted in between the pair to split them asunder, knocking Romantic off by a
neck with Lim’s Moment a short head away in third place.

The winning
time was 1min 11.94secs for the Polytrack dash over the 1200m.

Raced by
the Red Hare Racing Stable, Orient Express was breaking his maiden status after
having raced 13 times between Kranji and New Zealand for one second at his
country of origin before replicating that rank at his fifth Kranji start, both
over 1200m, clearly his optimal journey at this stage.

“It’s such
a relief he has finally made it,” said Saimee.

“I couldn’t
find a jockey for him. I rang up a few, sent a few messages around, but they
all gave him the thumbs-down.

“In the
end, I put my apprentice Yusoff with the claim, it was his last chance for him
and it’s good they won. Yusoff has been doing well and deserved last week’s win
(on High Street).

improved a lot. He has some racing sense now while he used to ride like a
four-kilo claimer before.

“He’s a lot more clued on and knows what racing
is all about now.”

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