Michael Lee – Singapore Turf Club
West North Hill handed newly-licensed trainer Jason Lim his first career winner after he made all to also open his account in the $30,000 Class 5 Division 2 race over 1200m on Friday.
David Hill’s former assistant-trainer, who saddled his first runners on May 10, looked relieved he had finally got the proverbial monkey off his back. The 37-year-old Singaporean had thus far picked up a few placings, with none closer than Redoubt’s short head second to One World in the opener.
But Lim, who honed his craft as a track rider in country New South Wales back in 2004, could pop the champagne a long way from home this time when West North Hill (Koh Tek Huat, $46), his 19th runner, shot clear at the 300m after dictating terms from the start.
Well held together by Koh, the English-bred five-year-old of Mayson knuckled down to the task to post a 1 ½-length win from Auspicious Ace (Ng Choon Kiat) with My Genesis (Michael Rodd) third another 2 ¾ lengths away.
The winning time was 1min 11.86secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.
“I’m glad I got the monkey off my back. I nearly got a winner in the first race, but it doesn’t matter, I’ve won my first race,” said Lim.
“I’ve had a few near-misses. I’m happy my horses have been running well.
“I actually told the owner (David Tan) his horse (West North Hill) could steal the race. He had a knee chip operation and he has come back in good order.”
Koh, who rides a lot for Lim and more significantly, had partnered West North Hill at all his previous 16 starts even when under the care of different trainers (James Peters, Tan Hor Khoon, Mok Zhan Lun, Hill and now Lim), was glad he had a hand in Lim’s first win.
“I’m happy Jason got his first win. The horse was always travelling easy and he won nicely,” said the Singaporean rider.
“From barrier No 1, he jumped well when the gates opened. I think the horse has come back a better horse after the operation, he never really showed any gate speed before.
“Even in trackwork, I felt he had improved. He did show some ability before but I think his knee problems were then in the way.”
A stakes earner of US$9,625 from his three placings in Ireland when known as Mack Attack, West North Hill has already amassed more prizemoney in Singapore from his first win and two thirds – around $29,000 for Mr Tan