A last-minute change of riders did dent trainer David Kok's confidence he would finally break the deadlock with Well Done last Sunday, but Nooresh Juglall, the lucky jockey who was given the pick-up ride aboard the favourite, did not let him down.
After the earlier showers at Kranji, Well Done's original jockey John Powell's riding vest became soaking wet and too heavy, leaving him with no other choice but to forfeit the ride on Well Done, a horse he had spent some time with, both in races and at his trackwork.
The last of 25 trainers still without a win, Kok had to find an apt replacement for arguably his best chance in a long time to end the drought.
Scanning through the list of available riders, he gave Juglall the nod.
Kok was not too bothered the Mauritian jockey had never ridden Well Done before, as he was after a strong pair of arms to steer the headstrong galloper home.
Punters also seemed undaunted as they still backed Kok's protege down to $17 favouritism despite the short-notice change.
Settling the Falkirk three-year-old in seventh spot with plenty of smother, Juglall kept his mount under a tight rein even when race-leader Lim's Mirage (Soo Khoon Beng) kicked clear at the top of the straight.
He only clicked Well Done up for his move at the 300m and, in a few bounds, it soon became crystal clear who would emerge victorious, even if he hung in badly in the closing stages.
KISS THE SKIES
Juglall redid his reins to get Well Done back on track before kissing their rivals goodbye with a pulverising turn of foot while Kok could finally kiss the skies.
Eclipse Dancer (Alan Munro) ran on late for second 1¾ lengths away with Orion (Rueven Ravindra) third another neck away. The winning time was 1min 36sec for the 1,600m on the Short Course.
"The horse was very well and everything was in his favour. He was on the right distance and has been working well," said Kok.
"Then came the change of jockeys. I feel sorry for Powell as he has done a lot of work on this horse, but that's racing. I needed a strong rider and that's why I went with Juglall.
"But the way he won today, I think anyone would have won on him.
"I just told Juglall to sit where he felt comfortable in midfield and to let him come, and I must say he listened to my instructions and rode him very well."
Kok said that first elusive win of 2015 had been a long time coming, but at no time was he putting any undue pressure on himself.
"Finally I get my first win. I was quite confident Well Done could be the one," he said.
"But as you know, I have a small team of horses and that's the way I like it. I stick to some loyal owners and we do our best to get winners."
This article was first published on Apr 7, 2015.
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