Maia scores ‘first-up’ again
Donna Logan-trained Ironside is Brazilian jockey's first ride as a long-term Kranji-licensed rider
Brazilian jockey Ruan Maia celebrated what he did two years ago on Friday night - winning "first-up" on Ironside.
On Saturday, he won again aboard Circuit Star.
Two years ago, Maia landed in Singapore on a mission and accomplished it by capturing the Group 2 Chairman's Trophy over 1,600m on the Lee Freedman-trained Circuit Land.
Although he returned for a few more fleeting visits, his win on his only ride on Friday night - the Donna Logan-trained Ironside - was his debut as a full-time Kranji-licensed rider.
Before coming here, Maia plied his trade in Macau, where he was crowned champion jockey twice.
The San Paulo native had to sit out the first four Kranji meetings waiting for his work permit to come through.
He was certainly pleased with his dream start.
He brought Ironside up with a good run to spring an $81 upset over the better-fancied Pax Animi, ridden by another new full-term Kranji licensee, Patrick Moloney.
"I'm so happy to have the opportunity to ride here. I'm grateful to the Singapore Turf Club for giving me the chance to come here for one year," said Maia, a winner of about 550 races.
"Big thanks to Donna Logan for that first ride and it's now my first winner. I'll just have to keep working hard."
Maia was unsure about Ironside's form but knew he had a decent horse to start with.
"It was my first ride and it was my only ride, so I wasn't sure. I checked his records and I saw he was not a bad horse," he said.
"I was only worried he was coming back after such a long break. From the good barrier (2), we had a perfect run on the rails, but he pulled a bit as he has a soft mouth.
"Once he found plenty of room along the rails, he came back for me and, in the straight, he just kept hitting the line very well."
That first winning partnership is likely to call for more between Maia and Logan, who was unstinting in her glowing appraisal of the South American jockey.
"Ruan rode this horse an absolute treat. Full credit to him," said the Kiwi trainer.