See breaks the jinx

Basilisk giving apprentice jockey Joseph See his first winner since he returned to riding in April.
Basilisk giving apprentice jockey Joseph See his first winner since he returned to riding in April. ST PHOTO: DAVE LIM

After seven seconds, apprentice jockey finally scores on $23 chance Basilisk

Apprentice jockey Joseph See finally heaved a big sigh of relief at Kranji last night, grateful to a horse called Basilisk.

After four months and seven frustrating seconds, that deserving first winner since his comeback in April from a very long absence came in the first of eight events.

You could see the tears welling in his eyes at the post-race interview, as he said: "I'm definitely speechless. It's been seven seconds, you know, and I still could not break the egg.

"Today, I came here with a heavy heart and I was thinking just do the best I can. Just leave it to the horse. I think the horse did all the job."

Basilisk, trained by Leslie Khoo, was See's 64th ride since he resumed racing in April after he got his licence back. He was out for 31/2 years following a serious riding offence.

The Singaporean was hauled up over his handling of Perfect Challenger in November 2015. At the conclusion of an inquiry later, the stewards slapped him with a one-year disqualification, which ran until Feb 3, 2017.

Ironically, it was the same Perfect Challenger who provided him with his last winner - his 74th at Kranji - on Jan 29, 2016.

During his disqualification, which kept him out of the racetrack, See worked as a deliveryman to support his young family.

After serving the one-year ban, See was back in the saddle but as a track rider. He worked hard and was grateful to get back the licence to ride in races in April this year.

But Lady Luck eluded the Singapore Training Academy for Racing graduate, notching seven seconds, two thirds and four fourths from 63 rides. Then came Basilisk last night.

See parked Basilisk slightly further than midfield in the Class 5 Div 1 race over 1,400m. It was the distance of Basilisk's only win from 23 earlier starts but that was 15 runs ago on March 23 last year.

Golden Thunder crossed in from his widest berth (No. 11) to lead narrowly from Kranji Gold, Lim's Force and the favourite Royal Pavilion.

Royal Pavilion cruised up nicely on the inside at the 750m mark to kick ahead by more than a length and straightened up first. But jockey Michael Rodd made a quick move to steer Kranji Gold up on the leader's outside and kicked clear.

Jockey Noh Senari also made his bid on Born To Win. Basilisk came into the picture on the leaders' backs and See switched out for an unimpeded run. The two horses overtook Kranji Gold almost at the same time inside the final 200m.

Finishing much better, Basilisk beat Born To Win by two lengths, clocking 1min 23.76sec.

The Tan Le En-owned winner paid $23.

"I was pretty confident after he overtook Noh on the outside, because he gave me a very strong feel - like there was another burst he was going to give me," said See.

"When I tapped him and asked of him for another gear, there he went."

Khoo was happy he provided See with his first winner after his comeback.

"He has been helping me work some of my horses, so I gave him a chance," said the former top local jockey, adding that Basilisk was working well and 1,400m was his winning distance.

"It's his pet distance. He's been working well, but today, I changed some gears because he tends to hang in all the time. So today, I put the lugging bit and he raced much better."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2019, with the headline ' See breaks the jinx'. Print Edition | Subscribe