Malaysian apprentice Amirul Ismadi will be thrown in the deep end at his Tasmanian debut when he rides Gee Gees Jet in the $100,000 Newmarket Handicap at Mowbray on Wednesday night.
But the 23-year-old’s record suggests he is equal to the challenge, having ridden 58 winners in Malaysia and Singapore since 2015.
Ismadi has joined Brighton trainer Stuart Gandy for three months under a Singapore Turf Club training scheme.
For the past two years the club has been sending young riders to Australia and New Zealand but they have mostly been first and second-year apprentices.
Ismadi is the most experienced rider to have taken part in the program.
He has reduced his claim to 2kg and is third on the Singapore apprentices’ premiership with 11 wins this season.
Ismadi arrived in Tasmania on Tuesday morning and, after completing his medicals, was expected to be given a clearance to ride at the Newmarket meeting.
Gee Gees Jet is one of four Gandy-trained horses in the state’s premier sprint and all are expected to run well.
“A couple of them, including Gee Gees Jet, probably need the sting out of the track but they’re all going well,” the trainer said.
“It will probably come down to how the race is run and the tempo.
“From barrier 1, Gee Gees Jet should get a nice run in behind them.”
Gandy said that stable jockey Siggy Carr had the choice of rides and opted for Gee Gee Red Prince.
“He’s going as a good as ever but has taken a little bit longer to reach his top,” the trainer said. “But he’s another that prefers some give in the ground.”
Gandy said even the outsider of his quartet, Happy Halloween, shouldn’t be underestimated.
“He’s probably a year off (his peak) but he’s going very good and should be competitive,” the trainer said.
Early favourite for the race is Lord Da Vinci who could add to trainer Scott Brunton’s impressive Newmarket record.
Brunton won the race in 2009 (Life To The Full) and 2010 (Obstinado) when training in partnership with his father David and in 2014 and 2015 (Hellova Street) when training on his own.
He’s had horses finish in the money in each of the past eight Newmarkets except in 2013 when he didn’t have a runner.
Lord Da Vinci finished fourth last year, only a length from the winner. He has 4.5kg more this year but it looks an easier race given the absence of big guns Hellova Street, Admiral and Tshahitsi.
EARLY MARKET: 2.70 Lord Da Vinci; 4.00 Im Wesley; 7.00 Gee Gees Jet; 9.00 Gee Gee Red Prince, O’Lonh Star; 13.00 Geegees Doublejay, Gee Gee Double Dee; 34.00 Powercharged, Killin Falls, Happy Halloween; 51.00 Merrick’s Beauty.