Rafi Firdhaus, a 30-year-old apprentice jockey from Singapore, reportedly received a five-week suspension for “incompetent riding” after misjudging the finish of a 2,180-meter race at Hokitika in western New Zealand. Firdhaus drove his mount Locally Sauced to what he thought was a victory in Wednesday's fourth race, forgetting that he still had another lap to go around the tight course.
“I hope this rider in front knows there is another lap to go,” the track's commentator said as Locally Sauced opened up a wide lead. “I think he's misjudged this, this rider, as they get past the winning post with a lap to go. He has. He's miscounted the rounds, Rafi Firdhaus. And Locally Sauced, you haven't won, son.”
As Firdhaus celebrated the victory while pulling up his mount, most of the field passed him to the inside. Firdhaus saw the error of his ways and put Locally Sauced back in the race, eventually winding up fourth.
As a footnote, the winner of the race, Point Proven, was the horse jockey Rebecca Back was aboard when she died in a racing accident at Tapanui Racing Club a month earlier. It was the 6-year-old gelding's first start since that tragedy.
Friends and family of Black experienced a wide range of emotions as jockey Gosen Jogoo rode Point Proven to victory for trainer Greg Wright.
“This is awesome. It did feel we had an extra jockey out there,” Wright was quoted as saying after the race. “This one is for Bex.”
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