Zyrul Nor Azman can expect a nice dinner treat from trainer Tim Fitzsimmons soon.
Most horse racing fans will read it and do a double take.
Likeable jockeys rode winners on Saturday. Ahorn is trained by Alwyn Tan, not by Fitzsimmons.
The 2022 Singapore champion Trainer couldn’t even remember Zyrul from his last win. Unless Zyrul likes cold food, he was Nate’s Champion on October 23, 2021.
If anything, Fitzsimmons should reward his lone Saturday winner, the $87 outsider, Jewel 61 rider Shahrizal Saleh.
But that’s where the Australian handler shyly admitted he made a fiasco that he’s very remorseful about.
Instead of booking Zyrul as he intended, a brain fade saw him keying in Shafrizal’s name on the Singapore Turf Club racing portal.
He was late in noticing the inadvertent switch. However, he remained indifferent as the Jewel Sixty-One entered his $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1,400m back-to-back.
Not only did the outright win provide Shafrizal with a much-needed gulp of oxygen after a long futile effort, Aone’s first win was also a great price to pay for Zyrul.
“It was supposed to be Zirul. It was only when I was watching Track Talk that I realized the rider was Shahrizal,” said a chagrined Fitzsimmons.
“Shahrizal was the last to ride that horse, so he must have made a mistake when he was thinking about Raise Sixty One.
“It was too late to change as he was to be fined a hefty sum.
“But I really feel sorry for Zyrul because he helps me a lot. I definitely have to repay him with a nice dinner.”
A rare ride at Fitzsimmons Yard, Shahrizal didn’t regret his stroke of luck.
Since his last Centurion win on September 10th, Michael Clements’ former apprentice has gone through 102 rides without greeting a judge.
Jewel 61 happened to be his 10th commission with Fitzsimmons and also his first winning pair.
Residents of Johor Bahru didn’t realize it was a mix-up until they hit Zyrul on Wednesday.
Although a heated exchange may have taken place, the two close friends are not friendly.
“Zy said to me, why is your name on the race card if I’m not on Jewel 61?”
Then he joked: “If you win, let’s halve it,” Shahrizal said.
“Anyway, I’ve never ridden a horse, but Tim said that James Peters’ horse (Star Victory) would be up front and we’d sit behind him.
“But when I got trapped big, there was no point in staying there. So I just rolled forward and took the lead.
“The horse was always energetic and relaxed, but in the last 300 metres, I thought I was ‘lost’. The first winner of 2023 will have to wait for another ride.
“But he kept going as I pulled and pushed and pushed the whip. I was so happy we hit the line first.”
So did Zyrul, despite the lost opportunity, and regardless of the eventual win-win scenario with Ahorn’s success.
“I’m very happy with Shahrizal. I’m not saying that because I won a race too. It’s been a long time since I’ve won a race,” he said.
“He rode Tim’s horse very well.”
Fitzsimmons said the 5-year-old, who was raised in the United States by First Samurai, has been training since his Class 5 win on February 12, but was not optimistic after the barrier draw. said.
“This horse had some issues that delayed him, but in hindsight, he needed more time,” he said.
“The barrier was wide and I was worried. He would have to do too much work to understand.
“I thought I would have had more chances if he had pulled a (good) barrier. But he pushed forward and fought hard for the win.”
With 55 winners on the Kranji Log, Shahrizal is rapidly approaching a victorious century on both sides of the gong. The Penang rider had his 43 wins in Malaysia before moving south in 2016.
He works his way up the barren grounds as a freelance jockey.
“Since I turned pro, I’ve had less support. It’s very competitive,” he said.
“I still help Michael Clements every morning, but now that he’s got Ibrahim Mamat, I get less rides from him. I also ride a lot.
“I thought Wednesday with Country Boss would be my best chance.
“But then it turned out to be a small field of eight people. He was in class, so he was light weight. I thought if I got lucky, I might have a chance.”
He did, even though he had real luck five days ago in Fitzsimmons’ office when his mouse clicks didn’t work.
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