Multiple Group One-winning jockey Michael Rodd is to return to Australia with uncertainty surrounding racing in Singapore.
Rodd, who said he would base himself in Melbourne, made the decision after an extension of the shut-down of the sport until at least June 1.
All industry participants have been under a stop-work order since the launch of the one-month nationwide “Circuit Beaker” enforced by the Singapore government on April 7 in its efforts to stamp out the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government has extended the restrictions until June 1, prompting Rodd’s decision to return to Australia where racing continues under strict protocols.
Fellow Australian Daniel Moor has already left Singapore and has completed his mandatory 14-days isolation in Victoria.
Rodd said his wife and two children were already back in Australia and he needed to put them first.
“Like everybody, I was keeping my fingers crossed we could restart on May 4, but with the extension by another month, our future has become even more uncertain,” Rodd told the Singapore Turf Club.
“Financially, it is hard to sustain when you are without income for one month, let alone two months, and we don’t even know how much longer.
“I also miss my family. I haven’t seen my wife and my two young daughters since the beginning of March when they went back to Australia.
“You can’t keep twiddling your thumbs at home forever. We couldn’t even ride trackwork as we couldn’t get a special work permit from the authorities.
“As racing was still going on back home, I had to be realistic as I need to earn a living and raise a family.
“It’s therefore with a heavy heart that I have decided to go back home. I’ve spent five fantastic years in Singapore, but I didn’t have a choice. These are unprecedented times we are living in and we don’t know what the future holds.”
Rodd, who began his career in NSW before moving to Queensland and then Victoria, said it made sense to base himself in Melbourne with the spring carnival coming up.
The jockey’s two biggest wins have been aboard Efficient in the 2007 Melbourne Cup and Maldivian in the 2018 Cox Plate.
He and Moor both say they would like to return to Singapore when the situation changes.
“This is only goodbye for now,” Rodd said.
“My licence has been extended till the end of the year, and I’m not relinquishing it as I’ll definitely consider returning if racing is back to normal by then.
“It has been an unbelievable ride in Singapore and I’m really thankful to the Singapore Turf Club for giving me that privilege for five years.”