Fradd picks up surprise ride
A social visit to Hong Kong last weekend provided jockey Robbie Fradd with the surprise of being offered the ride on the Caspar Fownes-trained The Duke in the HK$13.9 million Yasuda Kinen in Japan on June 3.
The former premier jockey took time out from his riding contract in Singapore to catch up with friends and came away with the opportunity to emulate his success on the great Fairy King Prawn in Tokyo in 2000.
'I was shocked to be offered the ride,' Fradd said at Kranji trackwork yesterday morning. 'But what a great opportunity to be able to go back to Japan and try to win the Yasuda Kinen again.
'It was very kind of Caspar and the connections of The Duke to give me this chance and he's not without a chance on the way he has been going of late.'
Fradd (pictured) is no stranger to The Duke, having ridden the Danehill gelding on four occasions for a win and two placings, including a victory in the 2004 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile trial, followed by a third in the Mile itself behind Godolphin's Firebreak.
'He's a terrific old horse and you know he will go over to Japan and give his best, as always,' Fradd said.
Fradd has wasted little time in establishing himself in the top echelon of riders in Singapore with 25 winners from only 130 rides. He sits in second place on the premiership ladder behind Australian Noel Callow, who will also make the trip to Japan to ride the John Moore-trained Able One.
'It took a little time to get some momentum going, but I am delighted with the way things have progressed and I'm very happy I made the move,' Fradd, 42, said. 'I'm hungry again, the warmer climate has improved my fitness and I haven't felt physically this good in five years.
'It was a learning curve coming to a new racing centre, but I've thoroughly enjoyed my first six months and I have just applied for another six.'
Before Japan, Fradd has another big assignment when he partners Brazilian entire Setembro Chove in Sunday's S$3 million (HK$15.5 million) Singapore Airlines International Cup over 2,000 metres at Kranji.
Setembro Chove, prepared by Fradd's long-time friend and South African compatriot Patrick Shaw, was successful at Group One level in his homeland, before arriving in Singapore via a brief stint in Dubai early last year.
He made an immediate impact with two Group One placings, including a third to the Fradd-ridden Our Falstaff in the Singapore Derby, before spending eight months on the sidelines due to injury.
There will be 13 runners in Sunday's feature, seven locally-trained horses, along with two from Japan and one each from New Zealand, South Africa, England and France.
Robbie Fradd used to ride with great success in Hong Kong
Since moving to Singapore, the South African's strike rate has been 19.2%