Boom apprentice jockey Hakim Kamaruddin opened his 2022 account with Deception in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1200m at Kranji on Saturday.
For good measure, the dual Singapore champion jockey went on to ride a double aboard Diamond Ring ($34) in the $30,000 Class 5 Division 2 race (1100m) three races later. Both horses are handled by his master trainer Donna Logan.
Unlike his first two seasons at Kranji where he got off to a flyer at the kick-off meetings, it has taken the talented young rider five meetings to find the line this year.
Then again, he did not have a smooth start to the season.
Deception (Hakim Kamaruddin) off to a strong first win in Race 2, picture Singapore Turf Club
He went missing earlier in the year following a three-month suspension for hitting Motakhayyel (now renamed as Xanthos) on the head in a race at the end of last year. He returned home to Kelantan for a much-needed break before making his comeback this April.
“After coming back from Kelantan, I think my fitness was not as good as before,” said Hakim, who was crowned both the Singapore champion jockey and apprentice jockey in 2021 (59 winners).
“I tested positive for Covid-19 in Kelantan and also a second time here about a month ago, but I felt okay.
“I took some time to finally get a winner, and now a double, so I’m very happy.
“Thank you very much to Donna for her support, and I hope I can have more support from other trainers now.”
The 24-year-old could have been anxious to prove himself given he was the only apprentice jockey to be given a six-month licence this year, but he still showed plenty of patience on Deception before launching the final assault at the 300m.
After tracking up the leaders Watery (Shafrizal Saleh), The Star (Manoel Nunes) and Dixit Dominus (Marc Lerner) in the run, the three-year-old son of I Am Invincible swept to the front once Hakim peeled him out at the top of the straight.
The $15 favourite strode past the pack to score, one-and-a-half-lengths ahead of runner-up Watery. Debutant Sousui (Oscar Chavez) snuck up on the rails to finish third another half-a-length away.
The winning time was 1min 10.39secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.
Hakim, whose riding claim has dropped to one kilo this year after he rode his 80th career winner aboard Eagle Eye on November 27, thought a good barrier and fitness helped Deception win the race.
“He is fresh this time, and he put in a very good run,” said the Kelantan-born rider.
“The horse is very fit. He travelled very nice and in the straight, he was very strong to the line.
“Donna said put him in third or fourth (position) because he had a very good barrier (No. 4).
“I ride him in trackwork, and he is easy to ride.”
Logan was full of praise for the young lad and the consistent galloper from Fortuna NZ Racing Stable at the winner’s circle.
“Hakim has this natural ability and horses just run for him,” said Logan, who took over Hakim’s indentureship after Mark Walker left Kranji in December.
“We are lucky to have a rider of his calibre in Singapore. Hakim rode him a treat today.
“We discussed about the race this morning and everything was planned out beautifully.
“This horse has shown a lot of promise for quite some time. I have a lot of time for him, he has a really good temperament.
“We got him up to the mile the last time (in a similar Restricted Maiden race on March 26), but he probably got a bit tired then.
“I always thought the further he went, the better he gets, but he’s got six races in a short span of time (two months from January to March this year).
“So, the break did him a whole world of good. Well done to the Fortuna NZ Racing stable too.
“I’ll talk with (principal owner) John Galvin who manages Fortuna NZ and make a plan from there, but I think there’s more in store for him.”
With that first win from three seconds and three thirds in seven starts, Deception has earned more than $105,000 in prizemoney for connections.
Besides Deception and Diamond Ring, Reignite (Manoel Nunes) came from behind to score in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race (1200m), handing Logan a hat-trick of wins on Saturday.
She now sits fourth on the trainers’ premiership on 18 winners, eight behind the current leader, Tim Fitzsimmons, who bagged one winner in Gold Ten-Sixty One (Manoel Nunes, $11) in the Class 4 race over 1100m in the Lucky last.