1 February 2018

No Rush, Simon Kok just wants to rise to the occasion

The Keano five-year-old who was secured by Wade Burridge of Premier Racing Partnerships was the horse that raised Kok onto cloud nine after he handed the former Malaysian dressage rider his first winner at his first day of race-riding last Friday.

But the 22-year-old said he was quickly brought back down to Earth the very next morning when his alarm clock went off at 4am - just like every morning in the last two years since he decided to become a jockey.

Riding trackwork for his boss Steven Burridge is all part of his learning curve, but it is doubtful he would have picked up a healthy book of five rides this weekend (two on Friday and three on Sunday) if he had stayed in bed.

Autumn Rush is among his three rides on Sunday, together with Dynamic Eagle and Reine Dasher while Burridge is putting his apprentice on Keep The Justice (his first ever ride, unplaced, before he saluted on Autumn Rush) and Great Seven, a winner at his last two starts, on Friday night.

Kok of course felt indebted to the Australian conditioner for the support. While thrilled with the chance to ride three horses for the first time, he can’t wait to hop back on the horse who will always bring back a ‘rush’ of memories.

“Autumn Rush gave me my first win and is also my ‘bicycle’. I ride him every day,” said Kok using a local term which likens the two-wheeler to the horse a jockey rides every morning and knows back to front.

“He has kept his form after his last win (went all the way from barrier one to score by a widening margin). The boss has put me on again; I guess he was happy with my ride.

“I know it won’t be as easy this time. He carries 2.5 kilos more and we may not get a soft lead this time.

“Still, the horse is well. I will just listen to the boss’s instructions and try my best again.”

Kok said every ride that will come his way will give him a chance to hone his craft further, regardless of the way their forms stack up against the opposition. Great Seven, a winner at his last two starts will have his fair share of admirers in Friday’s last, the $60,000 Class 4 Premier race over 1100m, but Kok will still treat him on par with his other rides.

“Great Seven won well with CC Wong (Chin Chuen) at his last start. I don’t ride him in trackwork but I hope he goes well again,” he said.

“No pressure. I thank my boss for putting me on good horses - and I will just give it my best.”