It’s the relaxed lifestyle that has drawn veteran jockey Steven King to Singapore for next year.
One of only two overseas jockeys to be granted a new six-month contract by the Singapore Turf Club (STC) for 2013, King says that at 43 years old he’s been thinking about the move for a while.
“The opportunity came up and I thought it was fantastic – you race twice a week, you’re at the one track, and from a lifestyle point of view it’s appealing,” he told AAP.
He said the growing competition and daily race grind in Victoria was also a factor in his decision to go.
“We’re racing every day and there’s a lot of jockeys here, so it’s very competitive and if you don’t have a major stable backing it’s difficult,” he said.
King and Brazilian rider Manoel Nunes have both been granted new contracts by the STC, effective from January 1.
Fellow Victorian jockey Stephen Baster has been in Singapore since the beginning of the year and he has extended his contract for next year along with Danny Beasley and John Powell.
King said he was open to staying on after June.
“We’ll take the first stint and see how it goes,” he said.
“Both parties have to be happy and if I’m enjoying it I’ll stay.”
King has been to Singapore twice before to ride, winning a Group One for trainer John Meagher and placing third in the Derby.
The veteran hoop spent four years riding in Hong Kong and has ridden more than 1000 winners in his career, including both the 1991 Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup with champion mare Let’s Elope.
But before he heads off, King will be riding Flying Skipper in the 1600m Sandown Guineas on Saturday, after winning on three-year-old at Flemington last week.
“For the Sandown carnival you need horses that are on the way up still and he’s one of those horses,” King said.
“He hasn’t had the grinding preparation leading into Flemington; he’s won his race and it’s a step up in class.”
King will also be riding the $101 chance Spechenka in the 3200m Sandown Cup.
“He’s a one-paced type of horse, so the distance will suit him,” King said.