South African Habib among trio joining Kranji
A new face will pop up on the Kranji racing scene from this week, South African jockey Calvin Habib.
The 25-year-old was granted a licence until the end of the year, and will commence racing duties as soon as this Sunday.
Habib is booked on Leatherhead, Blue Idol, Hongkong Great and Renzo – all prepared by compatriot Ricardo Le Grange.
The Singapore Turf Club has also granted licences to two other jockeys. One is regular visitor Daniel Moor from Australia, while Japan’s Shogo Nakano is at his first stint.
However, both will start later, on April 1. Moor will stay for three months until July 1 while Sakano will ride until Dec 31.
Tall for a jockey, Habib was actually knocked back twice by the South African Jockey Academy.
But he would not give up on his dream to follow into the footsteps of his jockey father Donovan.
Switching to races for work riders (track riders) and winning nine races helped. The academy took him in at his third try, in 2015.
Eight years on, Habib has chalked up a total of 330 winners, of which 10 were feature races, including four at Group 1 level.
They comprise two Allan Robertson Championships with Under Your Spell (2021) and Sweet Pepper (2022), the Gold Horse Medallion with Thunderstruck (2022) and the Summer Cup with Flying Carpet (2021), all for his former master Sean Tarry.
Habib also became Zimbabwe champion apprentice in the 2016/2017 season before also taking the senior title two seasons later. He also rode in Bahrain and France.
Currently sixth on the South African jockeys’ premiership on 71 wins, Habib goes to scale at 53kg.
Nakano, 31, began his riding career in Japan in 2009, but has been based in Macau since 2019. He claimed the best apprentice jockey award in the National Association of Racing (NAR) Tokyo in 2011, and also competed in the 2017 World All-Stars Jockeys series at Sapporo.
All up, Nakano has ridden in excess of 600 winners, including three at Group 1 level in Macau, all on Star Of Yiu Cheung in two consecutive Chairman’s Challenge Cup (2021 and 2022), and the Macau Gold Cup in 2021.
Nakano sits third on 16 winners on the 2022-2023 Macau jockeys’ log. He goes to scale at 53kg.
Since first testing the Singapore waters in 2017, Moor, 38, has become a frequent flyer to Kranji – from 2017 to 2020, followed by three shorter visits in 2022.
All in, he has ridden 51 winners, with the 2019 Group 2 Merlion Trophy aboard Countofmontecristo and 2019 Group 3 Fortune Bowl aboard Blizzard, the highlights.
After his Singapore stint in 2020, Moor went on to win four Group 1 races in Melbourne. He currently sits in 19th place on nine winners on the Victorian metropolitan jockeys’ premiership this season.
He goes to scale at 52kg.
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