Harry in happy times again

One person who looks all poised to play an integral part in Mr Malek’s and quite possibly, the latter’s trainer Lee Freedman’s future journey is A’Isisuhairi Kasim.

The winning combo with Mr Malek (see earlier report) in Saturday’s $70,000 Class 3 Division 1 race over 1200m has cemented further a burgeoning relationship between the Australian Hall of Fame trainer and the Kelantan-born jockey.

Popularly known as Harry, A’Isisuhairi is certainly grateful for that major shot in the arm, given he has known first-hand the ups-and-downs of life as a jockey in Singapore (he never plied his trade in his hometown) for around nine years.

Mr Malek (A'Isisuhairi Kasim) takes out the Class 3 Division 1 race in style, picture Singapore Turf Club

Once the flavour of Kranji during his dominance as a gun apprentice jockey fresh out of New Zealand, A’Isisuhairi has found the going tougher when he came out of his time in 2016, but despite his rollercoaster ride at Kranji, has always enjoyed the rub of the green in cup races.

Since his win on Trudeau in the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy (1400m) in 2013 when he was still an apprentice jockey, A’Isisuhairi has gone on to rack up 10 Group wins, with the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1800m) on Gilt Complex in 2017 his career pinnacle.

“Things are going well for me again. I know there aren’t many jockeys around, but I’ll grab the opportunities with both hands,” said the former two-time Singapore champion apprentice jockey who was indentured to trainer Steven Burridge.

“This reminds me of the days when I did well as an apprentice, but once I lost my claim, it was harder, and I had to work harder and spread myself around.

“Lee seems to be happy to put me on his horses. I’ve been doing a lot of work at his stables during the Circuit Breaker.

“The first day I stepped into his stables, he made me do a few gallops, including good horses like Mr Clint. I knew Mr Malek was there and even Vlad Duric said I should ask Lee if I could ride him.

“Next thing I knew, Lee himself gave me the ride on Mr Malek. The first time I galloped him, I knew he was a very good horse and I was looking forward to riding him in a race.

“Unfortunately, his races kept getting postponed, and I was so excited when the day finally came today.

“The instructions were to sit handy, one-out one-back, but the speed was on early and I had to switch to Plan B. I just had to get him to travel with cover as they were running along.

“He’s very genuine, very easy to put anywhere in a race. He was always travelling well, I was just hoping everything worked out my way in the home straight, I just didn’t want to get blocked on this beautiful horse.

“When he got a run in the home straight, I always knew he would give me a strong kick, and it was even more fantastic we beat two very good horses (Rocket Star and Lim’s Passion).”

A’Isisuhairi actually enjoyed a great day out as two earlier winners, Wealth Elite ($71) for Burridge in the $20,000 Open Maiden race over 1000m and Scooter ($23) for Desmond Koh in the $30,000 Class 5 race over 1600m, saw him notch a treble.

“I had a good day yes, but some of my rides couldn’t get a run, like Healthy Star and Mighty General, or the score could have been higher,” he said.

“But winning on Mr Malek was the highlight. I will now ride him in the Singapore Classic and I’d also like to thank Mr CK (Chian Kin) Phua of Oscar Racing Stable for the support.

“He also put me on Muraahib (in the $85,000 Class 2 race over 1100m) today, but unfortunately, we got caught by Sacred Rebel late.

“I can also reveal I will be riding Mr Clint in the Kranji Mile. That is a race I’m really looking forward to.”

Downgraded from International Group 3 to domestic Group 1 status as part of a raft of changes to feature races in the wake of the coronavirus, the $1 million Kranji Mile (1600m) is next up this Sunday.