Iskandar on the double
It's all thanks to out-going master Lee Freedman's My Big Boss and Augustano
With just one more month before he returns to Australia to continue his training career at the Gold Coast, Lee Freedman on Saturday gifted a double to his promising protege - Iskandar Rosman.
The much-improved apprentice jockey was in his element with his race-to-race double aboard $31 shot My Big Boss and $78 outsider Augustano.
He brought My Big Boss from way back to snatch a neck victory in the $50,000 Class 4 event over the Polytrack 1,200m, denying first-season rookie Jerlyn Seow Poh Hui her first winner. It was her fourth narrow second.
Iskandar jumped swiftly on Augustano and enjoyed a soft lead in the $70,000 Class 3 event over the 1,400m on turf.
This enabled his mount to make every post a winning one. He beat the Mark Walker-trained last-start winner Silent Partner by 11/2 lengths.
Both winners - tipped to win by The New Paper Racing Editor Tan Thean Loon - are owned by Thai outfit Power Stable.
Augustano has won about $470,000 from nine wins and five placings. My Big Boss took his earnings to about $260,000 from five wins and 10 placings.
Freedman was happy both horses will be leaving his stable as winners.
The Hall of Fame trainer was also full of praise for Iskandar, who will be indentured to trainer Young Keah Yong from the middle of the month.
He said his apprentice had returned with a change of attitude after being locked down in his Johor Baru base for many months last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"His attitude towards work was fantastic. He wanted to do everything at the stable. But, I think with the assistance of Matt Pumpa, he has also improved enormously," added Freedman, referring to the former Singapore Turf Club riding coach.
"For a start, he is a lot more aware of what he's doing in a race, he's more race aware. He also has a fantastic seat, which is as good as any lightweight senior jockey here, and as you know, being a lightweight jockey is a big asset here.
"I'm very proud of him, as he actually started his career with me. But all the credit should go to him because he made his own decision to make a good fist of it.
"KY Young and myself have been his biggest supporters. I hope the rest of the crew give him more rides from now on.
"I actually just spoke to the stewards about how much he has improved. I'll definitely keep an eye on his progress, even after I leave, as I think he can keep going to the top."
Iskandar is now tied with Hakim Kamaruddin in the rookies' rankings with five winners with his double.
He said he is very sad Freedman is leaving. He began his fledgling riding career with the trainer in mid-2018 and rode his first winner, Tesoro Privado, for him on Aug 10 that year.
"But there's nothing I can do about that," he added.
"He has taught me many things, but mainly how not to get caught three to four wide. He showed me how important it is to study form before a race.
"Getting a good position is also important, but that depends on the type of horse you ride. He's been a very good teacher to me, but I'm now looking forward to my new experience with KY Young as my new master.
"The stable is not as big, but Mr Young has some nice horses and he has always supported me."