Finally, a first Gold for Perkins, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Finally, a first Gold for Perkins

Patience rewarded for French jockey whose rides, let alone good ones, have been scarce

Patience was instrumental to Charles Perkins’ first Singapore success in more ways than one.

The French jockey had to keep calm at not just the ride that led to his Kranji breakthrough aboard Sacred Gold in the $20,000 Maiden (1,200m) on May 12, but also during that long and frustrating one-month wait to get there.

Greeted by his ecstatic wife Anais at the dismount, Perkins was relieved he could clutch his first ticket to a place he used to visit a lot more often at his former Macau base.

“In Macau, I was very successful, I finished fifth at the last season. I don’t know why I don’t get a lot of support here,” he said. “Mentally, it’s been frustrating. But I’m still thankful to all the trainers who have supported me so far.”

He had garnered only 10 rides in four meetings, with only two third placings to show for.

Bookings on also-rans at three-figure odds soon made the 35-year-old hanker for the days he ruled the roost in Macau.

Except that he could not turn back the clock even if he had wanted to. Macau racing held its farewell meeting at Taipa on March 30, when Perkins will go down in history as its last winning jockey, on Top Mountain God.

The former Macau champion apprentice (2011-2012 season) can only hope his luck has turned with that account-opener atop the Jerome Tan-trained Sacred Gold – and not without a touch of superstition either.

“My lucky number is 12. Sacred Gold was No. 12, so I had a good feeling about him,” he said.

Incidentally, Perkins’ very first Kranji ride – Pacific Crown on April 13 – also carried the same saddlecloth number. But at mammoth odds of $607, he probably needed more of a miracle than a lucky charm to get off to a fairy-tale start. The combination beat one home.

An encouraging second at his last start, Sacred Gold ($41) was arguably not only Perkins’ best chance from his book of three rides on May 12, but all-up since his debut.

Riding the Raffles Racing Stable-owned Japanese-bred four-year-old by Duramente positive from barrier No. 7, Perkins eased into second place when Wins Eight (Mohd Zaki) came whipping around and was off and gone.

At one stage, the tearaway leader was six to seven lengths clear, but Perkins stayed ice-cold in the saddle.

With more than 240 winners chalked up mainly in Macau, and also in France and England, his astute reading of a race showed.

“The other horse went very fast. My horse was travelling well, I didn’t rush him, I concentrated on his pace,” said the winner of the 2013 Macau Guineas with Master Of Puppets.

“In Macau, you must always be up with the speed as the pace is always on in sprint races. If you don’t do that in 1,200m races, you can’t make up ground.

“I had to be more patient in this race. When I saw we had the whole field behind him, I let my horse dictate.

“I didn’t go like crazy too early. I waited for a while and, in the last 300m, I knew it was in the bag.”

The milestone came at his very first association with Tan, a link-up that was not served to Perkins on a silver platter.

“I’ve worked Sacred Gold four times and I told Jerome I liked this horse and to put me on at his next race,” said Perkins.

“Hopefully, this first win will open more doors from now on.”

Tan was happy for Perkins, but also for a horse he has had to handle with kid gloves.

“He ran second at his last start, he has improved a little,” said the Singaporean handler.

“The jockey was confident. It was an average field, though, and the timing (1min 12.32sec) was also average.

“As he’s got a throat issue, I think I will keep him to 1,200m and on Polytrack.”