As his fellow jockeys left Singapore to return to Australia following the closure of racing, leading jockey Vlad Duric decided to stay put.
It was a tough decision after racing was halted in early April because it left Duric with no chance to earn an income and limited his opportunities to exercise.
Fellow jockeys Daniel Moor, Michael Rodd and Patrick Moloney returned to Victoria and have been riding winners around the state.
Duric said he was tempted to follow, but his two eldest daughters are in their final year of school in Singapore and he did not want to disrupt their studies.
Racing resumes in Singapore on Saturday and Duric, who counts the 2007 Caulfield Cup win aboard Master O’Reilly as his biggest success, will renew his quest for a fourth straight premiership title with a 13-win lead.
During the early lockdown of racing, only essential staff could enter the racecourse and exercise horses.
As a Singapore Permanent Resident, Duric was able to get special dispensation to go on “staff” with trainer Stephen Gray and ride work.
While it was not paid employment, it got Duric out and about and exercising again, gradually shedding weight and getting back in racing trim.
Trials in recent weeks have honed his skills and Duric is now eagerly looking forward to racing’s return.
“I’ve been back riding (work) seven weeks because I’m PR and I was able to get put under a stable as an employee which allowed me to come in an ride eight or nine every morning,” Duric said.
“My weight has come down heaps as during the break I was able to give the body a bit of a rest and it feels really good.
“So I guess that was the silver lining out of it, but I’m just ready to ride in a race again.
“Unfortunately there’s only two meetings in July, but it’s a start and it will be good to be back.”
Singapore will hold its second meeting on July 26 with one meeting a weekend through August.