Ipoh jockey Alex Chew punched in his first Singapore win on Friday night when he steered Top Happiness to an all-the-way win in the $35,000 Class 5 Division 1 race, an event for claiming riders over 1700m on Polytrack.
The Malaysian 30-year-old has been trying his hand at Kranji in the last three months, and somehow felt his turn in the sun was near following one second and one third, both aboard Daring Splendour.
That day finally came following a copybook ride aboard $32 shot Top Happiness for trainer Leslie Khoo. Sending the Bertolini five-year-old straight to the lead without bustling him up, Chew rated him to perfection before letting down the handbrakes at the top of the straight.
Top Happiness gives Ipoh jockey Alex Chew a memorable momorable first win at Kranji, picture Singapore Turf Club.
Favourite Terra Firma (Matthew Kellady) who had stalked him from the outset, tried to cut back the deficit, but it was to no avail as the leader was already off and gone by the 200m mark. Aware he had his first Kranji win in his keeping, Chew just eased his mount over the line as they coasted an easy 5 ¼-length winner over Terra Firma with All The Best (WX Wong) third another half a length away.
Indentured to Hoy Kee Poh at Ipoh, Chew, who has been riding for six years, said he was lured to Kranji for the “more challenging competition”.
“I wanted to improve my riding and I thought the competition in Singapore was more challenging and would give me a different experience,” said Chew, whose wife and children still reside in Ipoh.
“I was lucky to get some support from trainers like Alvin Tan, Leslie Khoo and John O’Hara, and I’m so happy to have finally got my first win here.
“Hopefully, this first win will bring more support and more wins.”
Top Happiness was recording his fourth win from 36 starts and also provided Khoo the second leg of a winning double as he had saddled a previous winner in Easy Man in Race 2.