No Moor, as jockey says adieu to S'pore
He is returning to ride in Australia because of the month-long shutdown
Australian jockey Daniel Moor has become the first expatriate jockey to return home, following the one-month shutdown on local racing as a result of the "circuit breaker" by the Government to stem the spike in local transmission of the coronavirus.
The measures, which kicked in yesterday and will last until May 4, include the shutting down of schools and most workplaces. Only essential services and key economic sectors are allowed to stay open.
Moor, one of 11 expatriate jockeys licensed by the Singapore Turf Club, loves Singapore racing and its way of life. But, with a young family of four and no more income from riding fees and stake money, he has no choice but to head back home.
At least, in Australia - bar Tasmania - racing is still going on, albeit behind closed doors. Last Saturday's Sydney autumn racing festival saw little fanfare on an Australia Derby Day held without the customary throngs of well-dressed spectators.
After discussing with his wife Lauren and weighing up his options and the uncertainty ahead, Moor heartbreakingly decided to end his two-year Singapore stint.
"It was a very difficult decision to make. You can be sure it wasn't one that I made hastily," said the 35-year-old. "With no racing and no income for one month, it's too tough to try and sustain especially with me as I've also got a family here.
"No doubt, we all hope racing can return on May 4, but these are uncertain times, and it was too risky to wait until then to find out. It was even tougher considering I was licensed till the end of the year, but unfortunately, I was finding myself pushed in a corner.
"We can go through our reserves, but the waiting time might stretch even longer. I reckon we could have lasted one month, but it was too daunting a prospect if racing doesn't resume by then.
"I'm lucky that racing is still going on back home. As an Australian, the costs involved would also be less, whether it's for general costs of living, healthcare and schooling for my two kids."
Moor has not really touched base with his existing network of trainers or owners in Victoria, where he hails from and has ridden all his life before he moved to Singapore in 2018, but he was confident he would slot back in without too much hassle.
"I did go back last December (during the Christmas break) and enjoyed my time then. So, it's not like I've been out of sight, out of mind," he said.
"We race seven days a week back home, and as long as you work hard, there will be a lot of opportunities. Once I reach home and serve my 14-day quarantine, I should be ready to start riding."
Moor has won 48 races in his two years at Kranji. He is packing two trophies in his suitcase from his wins last year in the Group 3 Fortune Bowl with Blizzard and the Group 2 Merlion Trophy with Countofmontecristo.
The season is a little slow for the jockey this year - with only two winners, seven seconds and six placings from 70 rides.
He did not ride in the last few weeks because of his holiday in England and then he had to self-isolate for 14 days after the trip.
While he is leaving with a sense of unfinished business, he can take pride in his journey at a place he had cherished riding in.
The lightweight jockey with more than 750 winners looks back fondly on a Singapore stint that began with a few hit-and-run visits in 2017, during which he opened his Kranji winning account with Skywalk on Dec 3.
"I've had a great time in Singapore. My most memorable day would have to be a dead-heat between my first win on Skywalk and the Group 2 win on Countofmontecristo," he said.
"I've also made some great friends here in the last two years or so. I've personally contacted all the trainers who supported me and they've all been very receptive and understanding of my situation.
"In the meantime, I can only wish everybody well and hope they all stay at home and stay safe.
"Hopefully, when this is all over and racing returns, I can come back one day as I'd really love to come back."