Joseph See relishes upturn in fortunes

Riding seems to have finally taken a turn for the better for Joseph See.

Once starved of winning chances, or even rides for that matter, especially when he was sidelined by two lengthy disqualifications, the Singaporean jockey has featured on the scoresheet a lot more often of late.

Last Saturday, he booted home a double aboard All We Know and Chicago Star, bringing his tally to seven winners for this season. Last year, at his relicensing after a return from a one-year disqualification, the then-apprentice jockey did his best with limited opportunities to ride six winners.

Kiwi Kid (Joseph See) aims to make it three-in-a-row this Saturday, picture Singapore Turf Club

See even came close to winning his first Group race two months ago, and it was none more prestigious than in the Group 1 Singapore Derby (1800m) with Elite Incredible, but was denied by Top Knight close home.

The same pairing had another crack at the big time last Saturday, but were again beaten into fifth by Big Hearted in the Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2000m), the third leg of the Singapore Triple Crown Series.

“It rained heavily. The track was not to his liking, but he still tried his best,” said See.

“Hopefully, I can achieve what I have set out to do so a long time ago: To win a big race.”

That dream will have to wait for another day, but for now, See felt like he had won big in a different area.

Last Friday, the Perth-trained jockey received the uplifting news he had been granted a one-year renewal of his jockey’s licence next season.

“I’m more relaxed now, but I know I have to continue to work hard,” he said.

“Now, I ride trackwork mostly for Jason (Ong), Cliff Brown, (Hideyuki) Takaoka and my boss John (O’Hara).

“With COVID-19 and fewer jockeys around, we probably get more rides than before and more chances to ride in big races, but on the flip side, there are also fewer meetings and races, and I don’t get to travel with my kids.”

See is, however, hoping another kid of his will travel good for him this Saturday, Kiwi Kid.

The pair will combine for a second time in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1100m. At his first jump on the Uruguayan-bred five-year-old son of British Medium in a similar race on October 10, they clicked immediately for the gelding’s first Kranji win.

Three weeks later, the Jason Ong-trained galloper did it even tougher from the outermost alley to double the dose. That day, he beat off Ablest Ascend, one of the leading two-year-olds in next Saturday’s Group 3 Singapore Golden Horseshoe (1200m) by a head to give Mark Ewe (See was then suspended for careless riding) his first winner of the season.

“I hope Kiwi Kid can win again. His last two wins were over the same track and distance,” said See.

“He has a slightly heavier weight (carries 57.5kg after See’s one-kilo claim) this time, and has drawn the outside barrier (14) again, but you can’t judge a horse just by that.

“I galloped him this morning and he felt really good. I think he has maintained his form and worked well.”

See will also ride the Lee Freedman-trained Circuit Star, who backs up in the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1800m after his last-start fourth over the mile on the turf last Saturday.

“Last week, Lee told me to jump fourth or fifth and let him run comfortably. The rest was up to me to decide,” said See of the son of Showcasing.

“He gives simple instructions to follow. This time, he (Circuit Star) is still carrying a light weight, but he has got the outside gate (11) and steps up in distance.

“I think he will be able to handle the extra furlong from the way he finished his last race.”

See has not been particularly lucky at the barriers this week. Among his four other rides, only Travis has drawn nicely in two, whereas Nineteen Glory (11), Speed Racer (14) and Silver Joy (11) have all drawn out, but See tried to stay upbeat.

“It was unexpected, but Chicago Star also got barrier 14 and he won in a Class 4 sprint race last week. Like I said, you cannot just look at the barriers, all you need is a bit of luck,” he said.