Kok doing well in Australia

Champion apprentice jockey Simon Kok has done Singapore proud in Australia with two winners in just a few race days in Victoria.
Champion apprentice jockey Simon Kok has done Singapore proud in Australia with two winners in just a few race days in Victoria. ST PHOTO: SALWA SUANDI

Singapore champion apprentice jockey kicks home second winner, this time in the city

Newly crowned Singapore champion apprentice jockey Simon Kok Wei Hoong is certainly doing the local circuit proud in Australia.

In just a few race days of his one-month exchange programme between the Singapore Turf Club and Racing Victoria, the 24-year-old Ipoh-born rider has already ridden a couple of winners with his confident and polished riding.

Ben Hayes, one of the three trainers Kok is indentured to, said Kok is keen to learn and has the makings of a good jockey.

"He's done a good job for us and I think he's got a very good future," said Hayes.

The glowing tribute came after Kok rode the favourite Pierrless to an easy all-the-way victory in the Clanbrooke Racing Handicap over 1,500m at the metropolitan track of Sandown at Wednesday's twilight midweek meeting.

The win came just three days after Kok opened his account in Victoria - aboard another front-running favourite, Inner Demons, at the country track of Tatura.

Inner Demons was just Kok's third ride in Australia, after finishing third in a race at Pakenham the day before.

"The second win was easier. The mare is stronger," said Kok, who chalked up a third and a fourth from three rides at the country track of Geelong yesterday.

"Once I bounced her out, she found the lead easy. She pulls quite hard, but luckily, I got her to relax.

" She wanted to charge early, but I didn't want her to move until the last 400m. I wanted to balance her up before asking her for the last effort to the line."

Kok arrived in Melbourne to begin the newly launched exchange programme on Nov 30.

Last month, Melbourne jockey Jessica Eaton rode on the Kranji leg of the Singapore Turf Club and Racing Victoria exchange programme.

She booted home two winners - Snip and Always Innocent. Like Kok, her first Kranji success came at her third ride.

But Eaton's three-week stint was cut short by a week because of a careless-riding suspension.

Although he missed the first three months of the 2019 season because of an ankle injury and the last 12 Singapore race days because of three careless riding suspensions and his departure for Melbourne, Kok still bagged the champion apprentice title with 35 winners.

Last year, he rode four winners in his Tasmanian learning stint.

Kok is due back in Singapore on Dec 29, in time for the New Year's Day meeting at Kranji.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2019, with the headline 'Kok doing well in Australia'. Print Edition | Subscribe