From ordinary to extraordin-Harry
Malaysian jockey underestimates his day, but snags riding double on two outsiders
Lightweight jockey A’Isisuhairi “Harry” Kasim thought the Kranji meeting on Nov 18 would be just another ho-hum day in the office.
A quick scan through his book of 10 rides told him he had mostly roughies – some, extremely long – and a few each-way shots at best, with Prioritize probably his best chance not to return home empty-handed.
Jockeys can be the worst judges, and the Malaysian rider would certainly not mind being proven wrong at times. He walked away with a double from two outsiders, Charismatic ($128) and Cash Cove ($86).
To bring the unexpected results for two battling trainers to whom he often lends a helping hand, gave him an extra kick.
Both Leslie Khoo (Charismatic) and Alwin Tan (Cash Cove) had been starved of wins in 2023.
From the way A’Isisuhairi threw everything at the two horses bar the kitchen sink inside the last 200m, it was as if he wanted both wins more for Khoo and Tan.
After showing the way, Charismatic staved off all comers to scrape home by a neck in the $30,000 Class 5 race (1,200m).
The fast-closing Cash Cove made a last-gasp lunge to deny even-money favourite Red Dot (Vlad Duric) by a nose in the $50,000 Class 4 race (1,100m).
“I didn’t expect to ride a double as I didn’t expect much from my 10 rides today,” said A’Isisuhairi, who sits in eighth spot on 27 winners.
“I just came here to do my job, and stay out of trouble. It’s not easy to ride a winner these days, let alone two.”
The 38-year-old jockey actually got a whiff of what could lay ahead as early as his first ride.
Debutant Lim’s Jinba ($56) showed plenty of cheek when he snuck up from under the winner Windfall’s (Rozlan Nazam) neck inside the last furlong, but had to settle for second place.
He then went one better with Charismatic, but fell back among the also-rans at his next seven rides.
When the final assignment came up in the last race, the only positive he could think of was the hot shower awaiting him after a long day.
Once regarded as a decent challenger to the likes of Coin Toss, Bestseller and January in the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, Cash Cove has not risen to the occasion when stepped up in grade.
The early form that saw him snare four wins just went awry. The Charm Spirit grey’s barren run of 12 defeats certainly did not give A’Isisuhairi any inkling he could be the one to stop the rot.
But the consummate professional still worked with Tan to give the four-year-old the best possible ride – while hoping for a “miracle”.
“Alwin asked me to go forward or sit second or third, but the speed was really on, they went along,” said the Kelantan-born jockey.
“I parked him behind because, if I used him too much early, I was worried he would not finish off.
“He was travelling nicely for me, and coming to the final bend, I thought maybe we’d run second or third.
“But, in the last 80m, he really got going. I started screaming and gave him everything, he just got there in time.
“Everything has to work out for this horse. I’ve ridden him twice before, but without much success.
“I would say it was a miracle he won. It was a surprise.”
Tan, whose 10th and last 2023 win came with owner Ivan Neo’s second horse Cash King on Sept 16, was also taken aback by that sudden return to form from one of his rare money-spinners these days.
“He’s a good horse, but lately, he’s been a bit slow to jump. Even today, he was a bit slow,” said the 2016 Singapore champion trainer.
“His form has been on and off. He’s very hard to judge, and because of these issues, I didn’t have much confidence today.
“But he’s a proven Polytrack horse, and Harry rode him very well. He really flew home in the last 100m.
“It’s been another tough season. This win is a nice boost.
“Hopefully, there’ll be more winners to come.”