By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Malaysian apprentice jockey Cheah Wei Wen has decided to bring his Singapore stint to an end.
The lack of success was the main reason for the early exit to a relocation that only began last year. The 20-year-old Penang native flies back to Malaysia on Monday, one day after he rode at his last Kranji meeting on Sunday.
A winner of 13 races across the Causeway when indentured to Kuala Lumpur trainer Richard Lines, Cheah began his indentures with Stephen Gray in February last year, but had to wait after the COVID-19 suspension was lifted in July to take his first rides at his new base.
Unfortunately, in 92 rides – most of them for his master – Cheah, whom Gray had nicknamed Winston, has not been able to ride a winner, with four seconds and three thirds as his best results.
Booked on two rides at his farewell meeting on Sunday, Cheah, who has been race-riding for 2 ½ years, did feel he could finally break his duck aboard his first ride Magnifique in the 1000m speed dash for Class 4 gallopers, especially when he collared hot favourite Ablest Ascend at the top of the straight, but Jason Lim’s runner eventually peaked on his run to settle for third place.
Cheah finished out of the placings on his final Kranji ride M Eleven, but as disappointed as he was on the way his short stay has panned out down South, the young man remained polite and gracious to the end, saying he had really learned from the experience and was hopeful it wouldn’t be the last time he is seen at Kranji.
“Things have not fallen into place the way I was hoping for. I’ve been unlucky and also had a few suspensions,” said Cheah who copped five careless riding suspensions, amounting to nine racedays – equivalent to nine weeks – on the sidelines.
“My family also asked me to return to KL, and Mr Lines said he would support me again. I thought about it and it was the best decision to go back.
“I’d still like to thank the Singapore Turf Club for giving me the chance to ride at Kranji and Mr Stephen Gray for giving me a lot of opportunities and support.
“Big thanks to jockeys like Vlad Duric, Oscar Chavez and Danny Beasley for giving me plenty of advice. I may not have won any race, but I have learned a lot from this experience.”
Cheah will retransfer his indentures back to Lines and said he would be ready to go after serving one week in quarantine.
“Mr Lines has already got rides ready for me at the end of the month. I’m looking forward to that,” said Cheah.
“But once the borders reopen and racing returns to normal, I hope I can get another chance to ride in Singapore.”