Jason Collett has given trainer Leslie Khoo his okay to ride Lord O’Reilly in the S$1 million Singapore Guineas (1600m) on May 26.
The request is now subject to the approval of the Singapore Turf Club licensing committee.
Khoo had been looking for another rider for his gun three-year-old since Ryan Curatolo hurt himself at the races on Friday night. The French jockey fractured his right ankle after awkwardly falling off Lim’s Rhythm on his way to the starting gates and is now out for five to six weeks.
Curatolo has partnered the son of O’Reilly at all his four starts for two wins. The pair could, however, finish only eighth in the second Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, the Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1400m) on April 22.
Khoo had since been anxious to secure a good rider for Lord O’Reilly, knowing most of the top hoops at Kranji were already booked, but the arrival of one-day visiting jockeys for the Invitational Kranji Mile weekend has widened the pool of riders. Besides the S$1.5 million Kranji Mile (1600m), the May 26 meeting also encompasses the Guineas and the $S1 million Lion City Cup (1200m).
“When I found out Jason Collett was riding the Kiwi horse Ocean Emperor in the Kranji Mile, I asked if he could ride Lord O’Reilly,” said the Singaporean handler.
“He just confirmed he has accepted to ride my horse. We’re lucky to have got a good jockey; he is currently sixth on the Sydney table.”
Collett is understood to be the jockey of New Zealand’s Ocean Emperor, who is trained by Gary Hennessy, one of four overseas contenders in the Kranji Mile.
The elder brother of recently-licensed Alysha Collett, who has yet to commence her six-month Kranji stint, Collett, 26, comes from a well-known racing family in Pukekohe, New Zealand. Their parents Richard and Judy are both ex-jockeys and now run a racing stable, and their sister Tasha, also a former jockey, is now married to Kiwi jockey Andrew Calder.
Based in Sydney since 2012, Collett, a former New Zealand champion apprentice jockey in 2011/2012, has ridden close to 580 winners, including two at Group Two level and two at Group Three level. He rides mainly for Sydney premier trainer Chris Waller.
Khoo is in the meantime relying on his track riders for any feedback on Lord O’Reilly’s progress after coming out of the Classic in good nick.
“Ryan used to ride Lord O’Reilly almost every day, but my track riders have taken over and are doing a good job,” said Khoo, who has yet to land a feature success as a trainer since moving from Ipoh to Kranji in 2008.
“I think the 1400m was too short for him last time. The mile will be more suitable for him.
“They also went too fast and he could not keep up. He still showed a good finish at the end.
“The Long Course of the Guineas will also be better for him. He’s pulled up well and I will probably give him a barrier trial next week.” -STC