Fast track is not for Fahmi
After debut second, new Meagher apprentice attempts to go one better on Webster today
As a new apprentice jockey who got his licence back in January, Fahmi Rosman boasts a record of one ride for one second.
From a purely racing viewpoint, it is a praiseworthy effort, especially for someone whose idea of a ride before was on a bus or an MRT.
But from a statistical angle, it is oddly bare.
In layman’s terms, that is akin to an 18-year-old who has long been waiting for a driver’s licence, but has gone for only one spin in the six months since getting the precious document.
The fact Fahmi injured himself on Jan 8, the same day he was meant to have his first career ride explains the long wait.
But once newbie riders have their baptism of fire, they tend to ride at least once every other week.
Daniel Meagher’s lad has not jumped on any other horse in a race since his debut second aboard Webster on June 11.
You guessed it. His next ride is on board the same Webster in today’s $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1,200m.
Just in case you want to check, the fine print of his licence does not restrict him to only one horse.
It turned out it was a simple case of horses for courses.
“There are so many horses to pick from, but Webster was perfect for Fahmi as a first ride because he’s a horse who won’t go crazy,” said Meagher.
“Fahmi did a great job on Webster. It was a wonderful ride.
“He didn’t let the occasion get to him.
“He jumped well and when he was taken on, he never panicked.
“He is well balanced. He doesn’t overthink, he kept the horse to his rhythm.
“I haven’t given him other rides since because there is no rush, he will get there eventually.
“What a lot of apprentices want to do is push for rides, but sometimes, they are not ready.
“To me, what matters more is they can ride well. Win or not, it doesn’t matter.
“They need to get their confidence up first. I have no doubt he will make it.”
Some apprentices might champ at the bit when their master keeps them on such a tight rein, but Fahmi cannot thank Meagher enough for the canny approach.
“I’ve always trusted the boss. I didn’t want to go into a race blindly, putting other jockeys and myself at risk,” he said.
“In the early part of my career, I fell off an unraced two-year-old called Supremo Lex. After I came back from injury and rehabilitation, he said I should take my time before I am 100 per cent.
“The fall and the delay could have broken down me mentally as I’ve worked so hard, but I came back. The harder the fall, the higher you bounce back, they say.
“My boss mentors me a lot and advises me on the mechanical horse. It’s good to know he’s looking out for me.
“He doesn’t want me to have accidents. He’s a good master, he looks after me quite well, I have no complaint.
“I was very grateful when he gave me my first ride on Webster, but I was so nervous. I’m already very nervous riding trackwork.
“I remember in the race when he jumped out, I tried to slow everything down. When (Mohd) Zaki came beside, I asked myself ‘was I going too fast or too slow?’
“I didn’t want to pressure him. He responded in the last 100m, he ran well and came second.”
Fahmi would obviously be keen to go one better today, especially as the Bukit Panjang boy, who is the first from a family of five to work in racing, turned 26 yesterday .
Barrier one again could help towards that belated birthday present, but Fahmi is well aware race-riding does not come with an instruction manual.
“He’s drawn one again. He’s a quick horse, but there are a few front runners in the race,” he said.
“I’ll just keep him where he is happy. I won’t be fighting him, and hope for the best.
“But I’ll still be nervous.”