Rodd, Moloney and Collett say goodbye
Singapore Turf Club-licensed trio head to Australia where racing is still on
The four-week extension of the Covid-19 circuit breaker measures to June 1 has forced three Singapore-based foreign jockeys to head to Australia.
They are Australians Michael Rodd and Patrick Moloney, and New Zealander Alysha Collett, who had ridden 15 winners in Sydney as an apprentice in 2012. Collett's elder brother Jason plies his trade there.
Racing is allowed in Australia but behind closed doors. New Zealand racing is expected to resume soon, with the country having reportedly flattened the curve with its strict lockdown measures.
Unlike Daniel Moor, who left about three weeks ago to resume riding in his native Australia after a two-week quarantine, Rodd, Moloney and Collett have indicated that their relocation is temporary, to tide them over the lean times at Kranji.
They are licensed by the Singapore Turf Club until the end of the year.
Jockeys derive their income from stakemoney from races and riding fees. The last race meeting was on April 3.
Rodd was keeping his fingers crossed like everybody that racing could restart after May 4. But, with the extension by another four weeks, the future of the expatriate jockeys had become even more uncertain.
"Financially, it is hard to sustain when you are without income for one month, let alone two months, and we don't even know how much longer," said the Melbourne Cup and Singapore Gold Cup-winning Rodd. He is currently in third place on 16 winners, 13 behind fellow Australian Vlad Duric.
"I also miss my family. I haven't seen my wife and my two young daughters since the beginning of March, when they went back to Australia. It was very hard on me.
"You can't keep twiddling your thumbs at home forever. We couldn't even ride trackwork, as we couldn't get a special work permit from the authorities.
"As racing was still going on back home, I had to be realistic as I need to earn a living and raise a family. That was the best option for me.
"It's therefore with a heavy heart that I decided to go back home. I've spent five fantastic years in Singapore, but I didn't have a choice."
Moloney said that as soon as the lockdown was extended, he applied for leave of absence with the STC.
"With so much uncertainty when racing will return here, there wasn't much point hanging around without any income and draining our finances," said the jockey, who has ridden eight winners this year.
Collett, who has seven winners, said the two weeks in isolation in Sydney would be boring but "it is just nice to be in the process to potentially be back riding again".
Seven expatriate jockeys still remain in Singapore and are staring at another five weeks on the sidelines, at least.
They are Duric and fellow Australian John Powell, Frenchmen Marc Lerner and Louis-Philippe Beuzelin, South Africa's Juan Paul van der Merwe and Ryan Munger and Brazilian Ruan Maia.