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First Singapore win a belated 21st birthday present for Espindola

3 minute read

Brazilian jockey Vitor Espindola received a belated birthday present after his first Singapore win atop Roda Robot in the $50,000 Class 4 race (1700m) on Saturday.

The youngest jockey at Kranji, Espindola, who turned 21 on Thursday, placed twice from six rides at his first Kranji meeting last week, but got on the scoresheet with the Jason Ong-trained Roda Robot at his 10th ride in Singapore.

Espindola, who has one Group 1 win to his name in Kuwait and last rode in Malaysia in August, was happy and relieved to boot home his first winner in a place where he has dreamed of riding since young. He was also confident of a good run from Roda Robot before the race.

"I was confident I can get a winner today," said the Dourados native, who has clocked in over 150 wins since his debut in Brazil in August 2019.

"I watched his races and I thought he had a good chance. He jumped good and we followed in fourth.

"He relaxed well. Good that I got my first winner (in Singapore) just after my birthday. I want to thank the trainer for his support.

"I only had a simple home-cooked meal for dinner with my wife (Maqueli) on my birthday. She cooks very good Brazilian dishes that I like."

The 2020/2021 Brazilian champion apprentice jockey settled the Mongolian Khan four-year-old in fourth behind leader Run Buddy Run (Mohd Zaki), Super Bowl (Manoel Nunes) and Rocky (Yusoff Fadzli) going into the first bend.

Pacific Chief  (A'Isisuhairi Kasim) suddenly surged to the lead down the backstraight to inject some speed into the race, which probably helped Roda Robot, who was caught wide facing the breeze and was seen pulling a few times.

As the field of 11 turned for home, both Roda Robot  ($24) and Super Bowl overtook the fading leaders at the 300m but it was clear that Roda Robot had the upper hand as he quickly cleared out for a one-and-one-quarter length win from the latter.

Rocky ran third another half a length away. The winning time was 1 min 46.83secs for the 1700m on the Polytrack.

Ong, who was at the double after My Boss ($7) won the $30,000 Class 5 Division 2 race (1400m) one race earlier, was slightly concerned with Roda Robot being overly keen at some point but praised Espindola for his ride.

"I told him to ride the horse positively. The horse was overracing a little in the backstraight and I was a bit worried, but the pace went on which helped," said the current leading trainer, who is on 59 wins for the season.

"He settled him well and won quite well. I was pleased with his ride.

"He has been riding trackwork for us and it's good to reward him with a winner."

With his third win and six placings in 21 starts, Roda Robot has taken his earnings to more than $100,000 in prizemoney for Ong. 

Singapore Turf Club

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