Gold City not quite a Gilt-edged Derby chance, but Harry still hopeful

Malaysian jockey A’Isisuhairi ‘Harry’ Kasim will be hoping for the same Gilt Complex luck when he again teams up with the Cliff Brown yard in a big race on Sunday.

The former two-time Singapore champion apprentice jockey memorably took the ride on the late champion stayer in last year’s Group 1 Raffles Cup (1800m), landing a massive $222 boilover win to claim his first Group 1 success.

A’Isisuhairi was not exactly the go-to rider for Brown, especially in feature races, but he grabbed the opportunity with both hands when the Australian handler gave him the call-up on Gilt Complex, who was the least-backed of Brown’s Raffles Cup quartet which also comprised his champion Debt Collector, Elite Excalibur and Laughing Gravy. 

A'Isisuhairi Kasim hopes to relive the same glory with Gold City as he did with Gilt Complex (pictured) in the Raffles Cup last year, picture Singapore Turf Club

Trainer Steven Burridge’s former apprentice jockey still rides sparingly for Brown. As a matter of fact, rides from all quarters have just been few and far between this year.

He did enjoy a sizzling start to the 2018 season when he took out the Group 3 New Year Cup (1200m) on Speedy Dragon and even topped the log for a fleeting time on three winners in January. But it’s fizzled out since – with only one winner (Moritz Eclipse on March 30) since added on, to the point he’s plummeted to 19th spot on the leaderboard.

But the Gold City – yes another runner with a Gold-themed name - ride in this Sunday’s $1.15 million Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (1800m) has brought a bit of spring back in his step, never mind if it may not be such a gilt-edged chance.

“Cliff asked me if I was available in the Derby, and when I told him I was, he gave me the ride on Gold City. I can’t thank him enough for that opportunity,” said A’Isisuhairi.

“Obviously, I believe there is luck between us in big races. The ride on Gilt Complex was totally unexpected even if I did ride him once when he ran second (to Nazir in a Benchmark 97 race over 2000m six months earlier).

“Things just fell into place that day. He had a beautiful run outside the leader (Forever Young) and he just kept going from the 300m even though all the big guns were coming at us.

“I was just lucky to get to sit on him when he was peaking to his best. He then went on to win the Gold Cup with Michael Rodd, he was a really good stayer.

“Cliff did give me another ride in a big race later, Laughing Gravy in the Committee’s Prize this year, but it didn’t quite work out that time.”

The Kelantan-born and New Zealand-trained rider will be riding the Gold Stable-owned Gold City for the first time, but has already done due diligence by watching the two-time winning (1200m and 1800m) Sufficient mare’s recent race replays.

He is aware that against the likes of Elite Invincible, Kingsman and Countofmontecristo, he may again be sitting on an unfancied shot. It may feel like déjà vu, but it led to a big $222 bonanza the last time.

“I’ve never ridden Gold City, but I’ve seen her runs and I can tell she’s a mare who’s really improved this year,” he said.

“I’m also very happy with her draw in two. She should have a good run from there.

“It’s a tough race at the weights, but she’s a progressive sort, and you never know. I went with an open mind the last time with Gilt Complex and we know what happened.

“That win actually capped a pretty good year for me (23 winners). I hope Gold City can do the same on Sunday.”

A’Isisuhairi, who was one of only two local senior jockeys (other one being Benny Woodworth) relicensed for one year in 2018, has had only two previous rides in the Singapore Derby. He finished out of the placings on both Panama City (2014, 12th to Spalato) and Titanium (2016, 7th to Well Done).

He actually won the first Leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge with Titanium (also at mammoth odds, $197), the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1400m), but though well-backed in the third Leg, the Derby, the James Peters-trained galloper could only finish seventh to Well Done.

A’Isisuhairi takes three more rides on Sunday – Gain Eclipse (Race 3) for Burridge, Scooby Dooby Doo (Race 4) and Amazing Man (Race 7), the latter two for Saimee Jumaat. He has no rides on Friday night.