Local jockey Noh Senari is thrilled to have his first ride in the Singapore Derby this Sunday.
It’s a momentous and well-deserved opportunity for the Singaporean rider who has stamped himself as one of the leading local riders this year.
The 28-year-old has a few feature races under his belt, albeit without winning, since he began riding in 2011, but never in the Singapore Derby, the last and third Leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge.
While his ride Elite Quarteto has not set Kranji alight in two outings, both coming in the first two Legs won by What’s New, the Group 3 Silver Bowl (1400m) – he was aboard then – and the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup, Noh is just excited to be part of the country’s premier event.
The 28-year-old rider was even present at the Derby post position draw at Bar Rouge on Thursday, soaking in the pre-race atmosphere alongside connections, Elite Performance Stable’s Aloysius Chew and Sennett Ho, and trainer Cliff Brown.
Noh will be alongside Benny Woodworth (Sacred Croix), Wong Chin Chuen (Magic Wand) and John Sundradas (Super Dynasty) the only four locals among the 16 riders vying for top honours in the $1million Group 1 Singapore Derby (1800m). Five foreign jockeys have been specially flown in for the Derby mission.
“It’s my first Derby ride. It’s a great honour for me, and for that, I’d like to thank Cliff and the Elite syndicate for having faith in me,” said Noh.
“My horse may not be among the top chances, but you’ve got to be in it to win it. I’m going in with a positive mind.”
A Brazilian-bred by Rock Of Gibraltar and a Group 1 winner in Brazil over 2400m when known as Quarteto De Cordas, Elite Quarteto has drawn moderately in 12. While he has yet to hear Brown’s instructions, Noh is already up to speed with the way the race might unfold.
“I rode the horse at his first start and he wasn’t ready then. The distance was also too short,” said Noh.
“The 1800m will be better, but he’ll have to reproduce his Brazilian form to be a chance.
“I see a lot of frontrunners in the race, and we’re on the Long Course, but I’ll let Cliff decide how he wants me to ride the horse from the middle draw.”
Noh is also aware that Elite Quarteto, who ran unplaced in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (2400m) in November, prefers a bit of sting out of the ground.
“I’ll be doing a rain dance on Sunday,” he said.
“Not too early as in Singapore, if it rains in the first few races, the track dries out quickly. I’ll be doing my rain dance around 5pm (7:00pm AEST).”
– Singapore Turf Club