Only one person was happier than trainer Stephen Gray when Bay Of Island took out the $55,000 Class 4 Stakes over 1700m on the Polytrack on Friday night.
That was apprentice jockey Wong Wei Xiang who landed his first winner.
Jumping straight to the front, Wong rated Bay Of Island to perfection in scoring a three-and-a-half length victory over Bowie Knife (Alan Munro) with Samurai Hornet (John Sundradas) three-quarters-of-a-length away third.
Apprentice Wong Wei Xiang gets on the winner's board with Bay Of Island on Friday night, picture Singapore Turf Club
Wong only began riding earlier this year and Friday night’s success came at his 19th race ride.
Apprenticed to Gray, the 24 year-old admitted to almost giving up on his career but has persevered to eventually find the winning line.
Wong had never ridden a horse before entering the STAR program and then joining the Gray team where he was taken under the wing of Matt Lewis and Jakki Harrison.
“He could hardly ride when he came to me,” said Gray. “And there were a few times when he wanted to give up.
“But he’s stuck to it and he’s willing to listen and learn. He’s a hard worker and I don’t think he’s ridden a bad race yet.
“We’ll give him a few more opportunities up here then during the summer months I’ll look at sending him down to dad (Kevin) in New Zealand.
“That might round him out a bit more and make him into a complete jockey.”
Besides not having ridden a horse Wong said he had never even touched a horse before joining the STAR program.
“I hadn’t even touched a horse before I went into the STAR program,” said Wong.
“It was hard work to start with and there were many times when I wanted to give up.
“But luckily I stuck with it. Matt and Jakki helped me a lot and I have to thank the boss very much for giving me the chance.”
Wong said he kept a close eye on the big screen to see that he had the race in his keeping in the final 200m of the race.
“I could see myself on the TV,” he said. “I knew then I had the race won.”