Duric says goodbye to Kranji
Four-time S'pore champ withdraws licence renewal to resume riding in Australia
Four-time Singapore champion jockey Vlad Duric has withdrawn his application for a licence next year, ending his illustrious career in Kranji with over 600 winners and a long list of major winners.
The 44-year-old Australian, who has not ridden for about two months because of health issues, had initially planned to take a break to return to Melbourne in December before coming back next year.
This year, besides his kidney problem, he has been plagued by a throat lump and a thumb injury. It was compounded further by his constant shedding of weight in hot and humid Singapore to make the riding weight.
Although his health has improved, he has decided to return to Australia for good and continue his riding career there.
This was after discussing with his wife, Storm, and daughters, Lily, who is in university in Australia, Sage and Audrey.
"I'm doing a lot better. I'm over my kidney stones," he said.
"I had already decided to take a break, but after discussing with Storm and my daughters, I thought it was the right time to relocate the family back to Australia.
"Sage wants to become a jockey and I want to be close by when she is there doing her apprenticeship. The youngest one, Audrey, is still schooling and it's an important time for her, too .
"They've been here for six years and they can now catch up with their friends back home. I myself haven't seen my relatives for so long.
"So, I have withdrawn my licence application for next year. I won't ride here, I'm going to ride in Australia."
Duric had to fight the hardest for his fourth consecutive title last year, holding off Brazilian Ruan Maia by three victories with his 65-win tally.
He began the 2021 season well, even leading at one stage. But his series of health setbacks turned his campaign into a season of fits and starts, which eventually took its toll on him.
Having not ridden since Aug 22, when he brought up his last win aboard Prosperous Return, Duric has slipped to fourth spot on 28 winners on the Singapore jockeys' premiership. He is 14 behind senior leader Danny Beasley and a whopping 25 behind overall leader, apprentice jockey Hakim Kamaruddin.
From his first Kranji winner Master Key for Len Treloar on April 10, 2009, to Prosperous Return for Michael Clements, Duric bows out the winner of 617 races in Singapore.
Around a third of them (214 winners) came at a first stint from 2009 to 2011, during which time he twice ran second to the mercurial Joao Moreira (2010 and 2011).
The Caulfield Cup-winning jockey (Master O'Reilly in 2007) returned for another crack in 2016, again finishing runner-up, this time to another Brazilian, Manoel Nunes. But he finally shed his bridesmaid's tag the following year and retained the title for three years.
All up, he won 30 feature races, including 12 at Group 1 level, the first two coming at his first stint, including Gingerbread Man in the Singapore Guineas to make a clean sweep of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge in 2011.
Last year, his 2019 Singapore Guineas winner Top Knight won him the Group 1 Singapore Derby and the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
"I've had a great nine years in Singapore. Nothing can take that away from me," said Duric.
"I was champion jockey four times and I've ridden some ripping horses. Top Knight, Inferno and Aramco are the more recent ones.
"I'm extremely grateful to the Singapore Turf Club for the opportunity to ride here for so many years. I will always have fond memories of my time here."