Canada: Darryll Holland got the perfect start to his new Canadian career as he partnered the very first winner when racing restarted behind closed doors at Woodbine after the coronavirus shutdown.
Best known in Britain for his association with the multiple G1 winner Falbrav, the much-travelled 47-year-old guided 14-1 shot Majestic Fever to win the opening 5f claimer on the Tapeta at the Toronto venue.
Trained by Vito Armata, the seven-year-old rallied five wide to score by a length. “Well, he made hard work of it,” said Holland, speaking to Woodbine media.
“I think he had 10 starts last year and never won so he doesn’t know how to get his head in front, but I just kept at him,” the jockey went on.
“At the top of the stretch, he just hung for a little bit. He responded and I knew he still had a bit left in him, so I just saved that to pass the last horse and he just got there in the end. I’m very happy for all the connections.”
Holland, who has ridden in an array of countries across the globe, had never before was breaking his duck in Canada. “This means a lot to me because it’s my first win in Canada,” he said.
“I’ve only had a handful of rides here for the International meeting several years ago so it was nice to win on my first run.”
Holland did not add to his score on his two other mounts, though he was beaten only three-quarters of a length on a 50-1 shot later on the card. “I’ve been well received by all the trainers,” he added.
“They’ve been very kind to me and helped me. I’ve been galloping all week because I was in self-isolation for 14 days before that, so it’s not been easy. I’ve had to get fit very quickly and take off a bit of weight, but I’m sure there’s better to come from me.”
“It’s nice to ride a winner and get the monkey off my back so to speak, and to ride a winner for a good trainer as well. He had faith in putting me up even though he probably didn’t know me.”
Prior to the racecard, Woodbine jockeys took a knee in front of the empty stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement on a day of demonstration worldwide.
• For more about racing at Woodbine, visit the racetrack website