Kranji jockey John Powell has accepted a late call-up to replace fellow Australian and former Kranji jockeys’ roommate Glen Boss at the Attitude International Jockeys’ Weekend (IJW) in Mauritius this coming Saturday and Sunday.

Boss was all poised to represent Australia at the annual jockeys’ series on the Indian Ocean island, alongside fellow Sydney-based hoop Jason Collett (who, however, flies the New Zealand flag), but an untimely two-week ban for excessive whip use aboard Star Of The Seas copped in the inaugural A$1 million The Gong at Kembla Grange on Saturday has ruled him out of the Mauritius contest.

With time running out, the Mauritius Turf Club event organisers had to quickly find a replacement jockey – eventually opting for Powell, who will, however, fly the Singapore flag in a nod to the country he rides at.

Powell, who has been plying his trade in Singapore and overseas, including Mauritius, for most of his 31-year riding career, was delighted he was heading back to a hunting ground he last rode in in 2005, while taking his spot as the 12th man in a contest he is invited to for the first time.

The 49-year-old jockey will miss the coming Kranji weekend meetings on Friday (November 29) and Sunday (December 1).

“I’ve always told Bossy he should one day ride at the Mauritius jockeys’ series. He was looking forward to it, but he’d be disappointed he is now missing it,” said Powell who sits in fourth place on 38 winners, 43 behind Vlad Duric who is already beyond reach in his bid for a third consecutive title.

“I myself have always wanted to ride at the IJW. It’s a big event for Mauritius and a great promotion for their racing and for Singapore as I’ll be representing Singapore.

“I’m thankful to the Mauritius Turf Club for the invitation and the Singapore Turf Club for giving me the clearance to go there.

“It’s my first jockeys’ series and at the same time, I’m excited to be going back there. It’s a place where I made a lot of friends and always enjoyed riding in.

“I rode for the late Kiki Henry, Alain Perdrau and Ben Noel and it’ll be great to catch up with people I know like Alain and his son Yannick, their owner Gavin Glover and Aussie trainer Simon Jones.

“Hopefully I can get a ride for them, but it’ll all come down to the draw and getting the right horses.

“As I’ve ridden there, I have a good understanding of the track but the jockeys invited are all world-class. Even those who are riding there for the first time can adapt fairly quickly.”

Among the 11 rivals Powell will be doing battle with are three former Kranji colleagues, the just-crowned Mauritius champion jockey Manoel Nunes (Brazil), Nooresh Juglall (Mauritius) and Derreck David (South Africa) while Olivier Placais has opted out.

Other jockeys in the line-up are Jason Watson (UK), Aurelien Lemaitre (France), Miguel Martinez (Chile), Srinath Surendar (India), Randall Simons (South Africa), Jameer Allyhosain and Kersley Ramsamy (Mauritius).

The event is split between nine races on Saturday and eight on Sunday (one race will be open to the Fegentri Lady Riders league). Rides will be drawn by ballot on Wednesday night at The Ravenala Attitude Hotel.

Points will be allocated as follows: Win (nine points), second place (four points), third place (two points) and fourth place (one point). The winner will be the jockey who racks up the highest score based on the six best finishes.

Powell reaches Mauritius on Thursday and will return to Singapore on Tuesday morning.




Michael Lee