Amirul has luck with pick-up rides
Supersub replaces Boss to win on $47 shot Eye Guy
The next time you see apprentice jockey Amirul Ismadi come in as a replacement rider - be it on a favourite or an outsider - be sure you're in on the action.
Amirul inherited the tag supersub - usually used on a football player who regularly scores goals when brought in as a substitute - when he scored on two pick-up rides some two weeks ago.
And, on Sunday, he did it again on Eye Guy in the eighth. It was a bold all-the-way win and it would have served to enchance the young rider's reputation.
Back on March 3, he got everyone talking when he steered home Elite Power in a hugely competitive $70,000 Kranji Stakes C race over the Polytrack 1,000m.
The responsibility thrust on his shoulders must have been tremendous. Elite Power was supposed to have been ridden by top jockey Noh Senari. But, when Noh became indisposed, trainer Mark Walker had no qualms giving Amirul the leg-up on the raging favoutite.
If there was any pressure, Amirul coped with it in the best possible way. He simply steered the five-year-old home.
Two races later, Amirul got another opportunity on yet another of Noh's rides. Called on to replace the jockey on Wolf Warrior, Amirul again showed the connections they had been right in picking him. After a titanic struggle up the straight, he managed to get the verdict by a head.
If it didn't yet seal his reputation as a supersub, his ride on Eye Guy certainly did.
A $47 chance and one of the lightweights in the field, Eye Guy was having his first test over the 1,400m and the step-up in class meant he was taking on some classy pieces of horseflesh, like Be Bee, Lim's Magic, Curvature and Paparazzi.
Could Amirul do what the connections of Eye Guy had earlier entrusted to senior jockey Glen Boss, who had to give up the ride when he couldn't make the 50kg? Well, we now know how that went.
Mindful that Eye Guy was going over 1,400m for the first time, the young rookie waited for as long as he could before cutting the ribbons.
At the 300m mark, Eye Guy was holding up quite well, but the swoopers were right on his hammer.
Curvature (Michael Rodd) seemed the biggest danger at the 200m mark and, to a lesser extent, Paparazzi (CC Wong).
But Eye Guy was right on the money.
He dug deep to score by 3/4 lengths from Curvature, with Paparazzi third, a neck away.
Amirul was amused with his new "supersub" moniker, saying he was just lucky to be at the right place at the right time.
"I seem to be good with pick-up rides this year. With Eye Guy, I had a good draw and the light weight helped," he said.
Winning trainer Michael Clements said he had been expecting a better run from Eye Guy second-up.
At his racing comeback from a four-month spell, he weakened after racing handily to finish eighth to stablemate Quarter Back on Feb 6.
"He was still big at his last run, his weight was up and he just blew up," said Clements.
"He just needed the break. He may be going for the first leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge, but that's still a long way off."