Chin just needed that Dash of hope
Chin Chee Seng was feeling down in the dumps after losing on favourite Oliver last Friday, especially as it was his only ride for the night and he had yet to win a race since getting another chance as an apprentice jockey with trainer Daniel Meagher.
When wins dry up and a live chance goes by the wayside, most battling jockeys read that as the closest thing to a death knell – and Chin, who had not saluted since Magnetise for his previous boss Bruce Marsh on February 28, 2016 - was no different.
Fortunately for him, Meagher and the boys rallied round him, just telling him to chin up, no pun intended, and move on. The horse, who beat one home, was just not good enough.
Chin Chee Seng opens his account this season aboard Dash on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club
Boosted by that vote of confidence, a reinvigorated Chin vowed to make amends - and how he did that at his next assignment, even if Dash was his only ride for Sunday and again the first-elect in the opening event, the $35,000 Debt Collector 2016 Stakes, a Class 5 event over 1000m.
Taking the maiden galloper straight to the lead, Chin applied the brakes shortly after, biding his time before releasing them again upon straightening.
Dash ($19), who had shown little at his previous assignments, put on wings on every foot inside the last 300m to, well, dash clear to a four-and-a-quarter length win from Secondwave (Wong Chin Chuen) with Highlight (John Sundradas) third another 1 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 0.38secs for the 1000m on the Polytrack.
Upon dismounting, Chin straight away gave stable supervisor and former top jockey Danny Beasley a big hug while trainer Daniel Meagher was away in Melbourne. The sheer relief could be read on the rider’s face.
“I’ve been very unlucky with two nose seconds (Secret Win on July 23 and Hero Champion on August 20), and then Rikioh bled last week, but I was even more disappointed after Friday’s ride. Oliver was the favourite and he ran nowhere,” said Chin.
“But Dan and the team told me not to worry about it. That gave me the confidence to face a new challenge and I’m so glad I got it right at my very next ride.
“The instructions were to roll forward but if it didn’t work out, to switch to Plan B. He sort of fly-jumped at the start. I just rode a patient race on him as he’s quite a nervous horse, and I manage to settle him at the 600m.
“Things worked out well in the end, but the field was also not very strong and it worked to my advantage.
“It’s a great relief to get this first win for Dan, but it’s not just about me. It’s a team effort with Danny Beasley, Tony Lane and KB Soo (Khoon Beng) and all the boys.”
A Kaphero four-year-old raced by Madam Koh Siok Choo, Dash was at his first run in Class 5 company and over 1000m, after having previously raced between 1100m to 1200m in Initiation and maiden company.