Four expatriate jockeys have been granted one-day visiting jockeys’ licences to ride at the Dester Singapore Gold Cup meeting on November 10.
They are Australian-based South African jockey Barend Vorster and Australian jockeys Craig Williams, William Pike and Patrick Moloney.
All four have been engaged to ride in the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2000m). Vorster is booked to ride Gold Strike for Cliff Brown and Rocket Star for Ricardo Le Grange in the Group 3 Saas Fee Stakes, Williams is on Mr Clint for Lee Freedman, Pike will ride King Louis for Ricardo Le Grange while Moloney is set down to ride Bahana for Stephen Gray.
South African Barend Vorster, 42, is an old Kranji acquaintance who plied his trade at Kranji for 16 years before he relocated to Adelaide, Australia earlier this year. He is currently licensed by Thoroughbred Racing South Australia.
From his total of more than 1,800 winners amassed since he began his apprenticeship in South Africa in 1993, close to 800 were recorded at Kranji.
At his very first season in 2004, Vorster was crowned Singapore champion jockey, thereafter becoming a regular stalwart at Kranji, riding mainly for fellow South African trainer Patrick Shaw and later Ricardo Le Grange when Shaw retired in 2016.
Among the host of feature races he claimed at Kranji, the 2012 Group 1 KrisFlyer Sprint with Ato, the Group 1 Lion City Cup with Why Be in 2007 and Rocket Man in 2011, figure among his highest accolades.
Barely one week after he moved to Australia to become leading trainer Tony McEvoy’s stable jockey, Vorster won the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap with the McEvoy-trained Sunlight at Flemington in March. He currently shares the lead with Todd Pannell on 13 winners in the South Australian metropolitan jockeys’ premiership.
Vorster goes to scale at 50kgs.
Eight-time Melbourne champion jockey Craig Williams, 42, is not at his first big-race visit to Kranji. In 2016, he won the Dester Singapore Gold Cup aboard Bahana for trainer Stephen Gray.
A winner of more than 1,800 races in a 26-year-long career, Williams returned to Kranji for a similar mission last year, finishing seventh aboard Sky Rocket for Gray again.
Formerly apprenticed to his trainer-father Allan at Cranbourne since 1993, Williams has risen through the ranks to become one of Australia’s most well-known jockeys, both at home and overseas.
He first put himself on the world map in 2000 when he rode with success for English trainer Mick Channon, notching up 52 wins, including two at Group 1 level with Tobougg, the Dewhurst Stakes and the Prix de la Salamandre in France.
After stints in Dubai and Hong Kong for four years, Williams made his Australian comeback in 2005, going on to claim two Caulfield Cups (2011 with Southern Speed and 2012 with Dunaden), two Cox Plates (2006 with Fields Of Omagh and 2011 with Pinker Pinker) and one Golden Slipper (2006 with Miss Finland).
Williams also won international acclaim in feature races such as the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase on Dunaden in 2011, the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on Ortensia in 2012 and Japan's Grade 1 Tenno Sho (Spring) with Jaguar Mail in 2011.
A five-time winner of the prestigious Scobie Breasley Medal, Williams has often ridden in Japan where he competed in the World Super Jockeys Series (now called World All-Star Jockeys Series) eight times, winning in 2007. He also took out the Meydan Masters, an international jockey’s challenge, in Dubai in 2012.
Currently sixth on the Victorian metropolitan jockeys’ premiership on 12 winners, Williams has also ridden at the now-defunct Singapore Airlines International Cup meeting in 2006 and 2009 and Group 3 Kranji Sprint in 2012, albeit without winning. He did, however, ride two winners – Ace Aviva in 2009 and Nandowra in 2012.
Williams goes to scale at 51kgs.
Leading Perth jockey William Pike, 33, is a regular short-term visitor at feature race meetings in Singapore.
The 11-time Perth champion jockey finished a narrow second on King Louis, beaten a nose by I’m Incredible in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m) at his last visit on October 20.
The closest to winning the Dester Singapore Gold Cup was in 2017 when again a nose-second to Gilt Complex aboard Bahana. Though he is still chasing a first feature win at Kranji, Pike does have four winners on the board - Chairman, Mr Crowe, King Of War and Really Capable, all earned in 2017.
Boasting a record of more than 2,000 winners in 16 seasons of riding, Pike currently sits in second place on the 2019-2020 metropolitan Western Australian jockey’s premiership, on 27 winners, 5 ½ winners behind new Perth sensation Jade McNaught.
Pike has ridden seven Group 1 winners, namely two Perth Cups and two Railway Stakes, and 51 at Group 2 and 3 level to his name. Besides Singapore, Pike did ride in Hong Kong with success in 2009 and 2012.
Pike goes to scale at 54 kgs.
Currently licensed by Racing Victoria, Moloney, 25, will be at his second visit to Singapore. He spent one month from 29 July to 31 August 2019 at Kranji, riding four winners and 11 placings in 42 rides.
After honing his craft with his father, trainer Gerard Moloney at Caulfield in 2012, Moloney went on to be twice crowned champion country apprentice jockey in Victoria in 2015/16 and 2016/2017. He also claimed the metropolitan title in 2016/2017.
He has gone on to ride around 420 winners, mainly in Victoria for a variety of trainers, combining the most often with uncle John Moloney and Michael Moroney.
From his haul of 10 Group and Listed winners, the career highlights are the 2015 Alister Clarke Stakes with Chill Party (his first Group success), the 2017 Queen Elizabeth Stakes with Vengeur Masque and the 2017 Linlithgow Stakes with Rich Charm, all Group 2 races.
Besides Singapore, Moloney has already ridden in France where he was invited to represent Australia in the Prix Longines Future Racing Stars races at Chantilly in 2013, and New Zealand, mainly for Moroney at his Matamata training base.
Among his other notable achievements, Moloney also won the Gilbert Principles of Sport Science Award Racing Victoria in 2015/16. He has also ridden in major Australian Group 1 races like the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Doncaster Handicap, albeit without winning.
Moloney goes to scale at 51.5 kgs.