Jockey Jalon Samuel (fifth right) joining owner Kenneth Ramsey and other connections in celebrating after the Gold Cup was presented by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
The career decision paid dividends. Jalon Samuel certainly isn’t regretting leaving Dorsett now, as his aim of racing for Kenneth Ramsay overseas still resulted in him winning a third straight Gold Cup despite the change of mount.
The 24-year-old champion jockey explained the move mere moments after capturing a record-tying fourth Gold Cup victory aboard Queen’s Plate winner Sir Dudley Digges.
“Well, it was a career decision as Mr Ramsey has horses all over the world, but Dorsett is based here.
“Yeah, it was a hard decision but a wise decision,” said Samuel.
“Since last year me and Mr Ramsey had a talk and I asked him to give me a chance to ride his horses here and he said he would think about it. So after a time he gave me a call and asked me to ride Sir Dudley Digges for the Gold Cup and I said yes.”
The move initially was thought a puzzling one, considering that Samuel won the last two Gold Cups with Dorsett to became just the third jockey to ever ride the same horse to successive victories at the Caribbean’s biggest race.
But Samuel backed himself to make even more history, as the talented young rider tied the legendary Venice Richards (1986, 89, 91, 92), Patrick Husbands (1990, 2006, 2010, 2014) and Jono Jones (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003) for the most Gold Cup wins as a jockey.
“Every jockey has a dream of breaking Gold Cup records, so doing that makes me feel good inside and keeps me happy. It’s good to win three straight but better to win four,” Samuel said.
His success wasn’t just limited to the day’s big race either, as Samuel capped his record-setting performance with three other wins, including victories in the big Tanglewood Stakes and The Spa Sprint.
It justified trainer Nolan Ramsey’s faith in the young jockey, considering the American camp made the bold move to replace Husbands after partnering with the illustrious 45-year-old for the last four years.
“We tried to put the best team on the field we possibly can and Jalon beat us the last two years and we knew he’s pretty talented so the trainers thought he was a perfect fit for the horse,” said owner Kenneth Ramsey.
“This wasn’t anything against Patrick Husbands. I let the trainers make that decision and I don’t interfere.
“He’s a good friend of mine. Patrick has done great for us and got our first Gold Cup winner for us.” (JM)