Apprentice Iskandar back in the saddle

Apprentice jockey Iskandar Rosman with his master, trainer Lee Freedman, before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Apprentice jockey Iskandar Rosman with his master, trainer Lee Freedman, before the Covid-19 pandemic.PHOTO: STC

After being stuck in his Johor Baru home for about five months, Malaysian apprentice jockey Iskandar Rosman will be back riding at Kranji tomorrow.

He has picked up two rides - River Ruby for trainer Mok Zhan Lun in Race 6 and Dontlookdownonme for trainer David Kok in Race 8.

The 25-year-old and compatriots Wong Chin Chuen and Mohd Zaki were "stranded" in their JB base after the Causeway was closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the trio have been given the green light to ride with the recent easing of certain restrictions of the circuit breaker.

Iskandar, who is indentured to trainer Lee Freedman, left his wife Aina and one-year-old son Noah behind on July 14 to serve a two-week of quarantine in Singapore.

He then passed the mandatory Covid-19 test and returned to ride trackwork on Wednesday.

Wong and Zaki will enter Singapore early next week to serve the quarantine and undergo the Covid-19 test after that.

"I'm so happy to be back. It was a very long time not riding - almost five months," said Iskandar, who was serving two careless riding suspensions amounting to about six weeks (March 8 to April 17), before Singapore racing was suspended on April 7.

"I went back to JB because I was suspended then. Then racing stopped, and since I couldn't work, I had to go back to my wife and my little boy. I missed riding so much. I would watch the race replays on the website and wish I were there."

He felt very frustrated, especially when racing resumed on July 11. But, luckily, his wife just opened a shop selling cookies to tide them through.

"But, when the boss told me I finally got the permission to go back, I had to leave my family, even if I know I will miss them so much.

"My wife said never mind, she supported me. My son was born premature and needs regular medical check-ups. But I have many family members who can help us even if I'm not around."

Iskandar has notched two wins and four seconds from 35 rides at Kranji this year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2020, with the headline 'Apprentice Iskandar back in the saddle'. Print Edition | Subscribe