Via Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Short-term visiting jockey Patrick Moloney was seen at Kranji on Tuesday morning, getting the lie of the land while waiting for the go-ahead to slip into his breeches.
The 25-year-old Australian jockey is in town to begin a one-month contract which will take him until the end of August.
Moloney is expecting his work permit to be approved by the end of the day, which should allow him to begin trackwork on Wednesday.
s he watched Tuesday’s barrier trials from the trainer’s hut, one could feel the former Melbourne champion apprentice jockey (2016/2017) and two-time Victorian country champion apprentice jockey (2015/2016 and 2016/2017) chomping at the bit, wishing he was out there instead of standing railside.
“I can’t wait to have my first rides this weekend. I’m keen as mustard,” said the son of Caulfield trainer Gerard Moloney with whom he kicked off his riding career in 2012.
“I’ve got a couple on Friday and four on Sunday. I don’t know the horses’ names but I know I’ve got some for Donna Logan, Stephen Gray, Cliff Brown and CT (Cheng Tee) Kuah.
“This morning, the starter John Pepe took me on a tour of the stables and introduced me to some trainers. I know of some like Cliff who was from Victoria but I didn’t know him personally as I haven’t even started riding when he left for Singapore in 2008.
“I know Lee Freedman, and Stephen Gray as we met here when I came on holiday once.”
A lightweight rider who goes to scale at 52kgs, Moloney has ridden in excess of 420 winners, including three at Group 2 level from a haul of 10 Group and Listed winners.
While August is a quiet month for feature races at Kranji with only the Group 3 Committee’s Prize and Group 2 Merlion Trophy on 18 and 25 August respectively, Moloney’s priority is to make his presence felt at the nine Kranji meetings he will ride in during his short stay – hoping it would put him in good stead for another stint.
“Singapore has always been on the radar. I’ve already ridden in France where I represented Australia in the Prix Longines Future Racing Stars races at Chantilly in 2013, and New Zealand where I won six races for Mike Moroney,” he said.
“I actually wanted to apply for a longer term in Singapore, but this opportunity for one month has come up and it was a good opportunity to see how I measure up in such good competitive racing.
“It was the right time to come over as it’s pretty quiet at this time of the year in Melbourne. It’s the winter months.”
Looking impressed with the track and facilities, Moloney said he was looking forward to pitting his skills against Kranji’s crop of top international jockeys, including some fellow Victorians he used to compete with day in day out.
“The facilities are nice and it’s a nice environment. It’s a career highlight for any jockey to compete in such a place, be it trackwork or races,” said.
“Obviously, I know Ben Thompson, Daniel Moor, Vlad Duric, Michael Rodd, Joseph Azzopardi as they all rode in Melbourne. It’ll be great to ride against them here.”
Riding racehorses is in Moloney’s genes. There was no other way he would have wanted his career path to lead to as he grew up in a family where horses were talked about night and day.
“I’ve always wanted to be a jockey. There are trainers in the Moloney family, and I’m the third generation,” he said.
“I was small enough, and I had the passion for racing. I did my apprenticeship with my dad, who still trains from Caulfield, but with a small team nowadays.
“I ride a lot for my uncle John as well. I was also lucky to ride for Mike Moroney, with whom I’ve had a lot of success, including Vengeur Masque (for Moroney) in the Group 2 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2017.
“That was the year I won four races at Flemington, including the Group 2 Linlithgow Stakes with Rich Charm (for Udyta Clarke).”
But the first Group win will always taste the sweetest –the 2015 Group 2 Alister Clarke Stakes with Chill Party, a Tom Hughes-trained galloper racing in colours familiar to Kranji racegoers, the pink and white silks of Debt Collector’s Barree Stable.
“It was massive to win my first Group race with Chill Party while I was still an apprentice. It helped me a lot in my apprenticeship,” he said.
“I had a nasty fall and broke both ankles at one stage. I was leading the apprentice premiership, but I just got rolled in the end – the next year, I won it.”
That sheer determination may well take Moloney to the Kranji winner’s circle in the next month.