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Big chance for a second win

Beuzelin and Khoo hope Big Max can end their long drought as a pairing

Trainers and jockeys often enjoy a yarn about old memories.

Nine times out of 10, the narrative would typically feature the better horses or the bigger races.

A win in a Class 5 race on Sept 13, 2019 during the old days of Friday-night meetings would hardly make for a throwback moment.

But jockey Louis-Philippe Beuzelin certainly did not forget the winner Kubera’s Chief. It was not quite the Frenchman’s account opener in Singapore, but close.

The now 10-year-old son of Darci Brahma, who is still racing up in Malaysia, was actually his second winner, one month after Alwin Tan’s Universal Empire (now Royal Commander) gave him his breakthrough at only his fifth ride.

To Beuzelin, Kubera’s Chief sticks out mostly as the only winner he has ever ridden for veteran trainer Leslie Khoo to this day.

By coincidence, Tan, the inaugural provider, has also not reappeared in the photo at Beuzelin’s next 100 winners at Kranji.

When Beuzelin was booked on Big Max in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden (Poly 1,000m) on Saturday, he did not fail to remind Khoo of the long overdue second win.

“I told Leslie about Kubera’s Chief. I told him Big Max was our best chance to get another win four years later,” said Beuzelin.

“It’d be good to win for Leslie for old times’ sake, and Alwin. He’s put me on Laslos and Raging Rabbit.”

Truth be told, Beuzelin seldom rode for the smaller yards once he gained a foothold at Kranji, especially when he linked up with Michael Clements in 2020.

That season also proved to be the Bajan-raised rider’s best – he finished third on 36 winners.

But since his split with Clements in 2022, the freelance rider spreads himself around more these days, hence the more frequent reunions with trainers like Khoo and Tan.

Wins have also dwindled – he has only 10 wins in 2023 – but becoming a first-time father recently has changed his outlook.

“Life has changed since Zoe (wife) and I welcomed our little girl on Aug 31. We named her Scarlett,” said the proud dad.

“It’s a whole new experience for us and we love it. But, even if racing is closing next year, I’ll still keep riding here and try and get as many winners as I can.

“This week, I have seven rides, but Big Max is my best chance.

“I galloped him and he worked very well. Leslie’s prepared him very well for this race.

“To me, he’s a speed horse with a high cruising speed. The 1,000m will suit him better than 1,200m. I think he is up to that level.

“The opposition is not so strong. I expect a good run from him.”

Ahead of only Tan Kah Soon on the log of 21 trainers with six wins each, Khoo is also counting on the son of Charm Spirit for a boost.

“I’m not quite sure if he can handle the Polytrack, but I’m taking a chance,” said Khoo.

“I think he’s more of a turf horse. But the 1,000m should suit him as he likes to go up front.

“We’re trying blinkers because he pulls too hard early. As I couldn’t find many jockeys at this weight, I was happy to put Louis on.

“I can only hope for the best.”