Singapore very lucky to have Callow, says Laxon

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 December, 2007, 12:00am

Trainer Laurie Laxon yesterday gave the highest compliment to jockey Noel Callow, who will partner Singaporean champ Why Be in Sunday's Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint, declaring the Australian 'as good as I've seen'.

Callow went to Singapore late last year on a trial basis but has taken the racing industry there by storm, rewriting the record books in a season of unparalleled accomplishment.

'The all-time record was 85 wins, held by the long-time champion Saimee Jumaat,' Laxon said, 'but Noel sailed past that figure with a couple of months to spare and has now ridden over 100.

'It's actually quite incredible for a jockey who cannot ride below 55kg [122 pounds] to be able to ride that many winners.'

The facts are that Callow has ridden 104 winners in Singapore from 350 rides, giving him the extraordinary strike rate of 29.7 per cent and a 43-win gap over former Hong Kong champion Robbie Fradd.

Laxon has engaged Callow to ride his star sprinter Why Be, an Australian-bred son of the former Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Success Express.

'I don't even bother giving Noel instructions any more,' Laxon said. 'He's such a great judge of pace, he just puts them where they should be. If they're going slow, he'll be in front, but if they go too quick, he'll take hold and follow them. Wherever the horse should be in a race, that's where Noel will have him.'

Laxon said Singapore was 'very lucky' to have the gifted rider, who was formerly from Melbourne, but has no doubt Callow could make it anywhere.

'He's the sort of jockey who could go straight to England and win a Derby at Epsom, that's my opinion of him,' Laxon summed up.

On Why Be, Laxon described the tough-looking bay gelding as 'a real racehorse' that has plenty of natural speed but doesn't necessarily have to lead.

'He's done a great job for us,' the trainer said. 'He's won 20 out of 27 - how many horses get to win 20 races? Miss Andretti has won 19 and she's just about the best in the world.'