Maia returns, with 3 new faces, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Maia returns, with 3 new faces

Four newcomers will join the jockeys’ roster at Kranji from February until the end of the season.

One of them is an old acquaintance, Ruan Maia, and another is a first-timer, but his name may ring a bell with local racegoers: Darren Danis.

The New Zealand-based Singaporean jockey is the son of jockey-turned-trainer Luke Danis, while Brazil’s Maia rode regularly at Kranji from 2018 to 2021.

The other two are Panamanian Luis Corrales and Frenchman Charles Perkins, both currently based in Macau, as is Maia.

The Macau government recently announced that the Macau Jockey Club will end its racing operations on April 1.

Maia tops the jockeys’ log in the former Portuguese enclave on 31 winners, 18 clear of both Perkins and Corrales, with the former sitting third on a countback for seconds.

Now 35, Maia did very well at his first full season in 2020, finishing a close runner-up to Vlad Duric in the Singapore jockeys’ premiership.

Tipped as champion material the next season, he duly lived up to the hype by taking the early lead.

But Kranji never got to find out if he could go all the way. He was lured to Hong Kong, bowing out of Singapore the winner of 71 races, including five at Group level.

Competition was much tougher in Hong Kong, though. After booting home 40 winners from February 2021 to May 2023, he decided to return to Singapore, but changed his mind when the closure news came through in June 2023.

The 700-odd race winner has since made his way back to familiar territory – Macau, where he was crowned champion jockey twice (2017/2018 and 2018/2019 seasons).

Like Maia, Danis, 31, is not new to the Kranji racecourse, except that he went around only in trackwork.

As an apprentice jockey, he was first indentured to ex-Kranji trainer Brian Dean, but made his race-riding debut overseas.

In 2015, he moved to New Zealand where he has chalked up around 100 winners. Incidentally, that first century came with a second milestone – his first Group win.

He won the Group 3 Barneswood Farm Stakes with Star Of Justice for former four-time Singapore champion trainer Mark Walker last October.

Of the four new licensees, Corrales, 44, boasts the most impressive resume.

Besides being the jockey with the most number of wins – more than 1,600 winners – in Macau history, he is an eight-time champion jockey there.

Though born in Panama, he did all his career in Macau, starting off at the club’s apprentice school in 1996.

He has ridden several Group 1 winners, including the Macau Guineas aboard Bygone Era in 2022 and two Chairman’s Challenge Cup with Ahern (2014) and Sacred Hustler (2015).

Perkins, 35, is not as well known, but has made a name for himself in his 12 years in Macau.

After stints riding work in France, US and UK, he also started off as an apprentice in Macau in 2012.

His win tally sits at 220, including Group 1 wins in the 2013 Macau Guineas on Master Of Puppets and the 2013 Chairman’s Challenge Cup on Luck Of Smiling.

The Singapore Turf Club has granted all four riders licences from Feb 5 to Oct 31, but which effectively end on Oct 5, the last day of Singapore racing.