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Jose De Souza marks return with first-up win

August 22, 2023 at 4:33:15 AM

In April last year, three-time champion jockey Jose De Souza left Malaysia for Mauritius in a blaze of glory when he piloted Awesome Storm to to a runaway win in the Tunku Gold Cup (1200m).

After a successful stint in Mauritius, De Souza has returned to the country (where he spent more than a decade of his career) and won first-up on the same horse in the Metro A set-weight event over 1275m on the No. 2 track at Sungei Besi here today.

It's as if the pair — who combined to win five races in the last two years — were never apart. The bond and understanding between the two were evident for all to see.

Big Doctor was the first to break and set the pace with Awesome Storm sitting second just behind him.

Awesome Storm levelled up with BIG DOCTOR making the turn into the straight and the pair then drew away from the rest to fight stride-for-stride to the finish, with Awesome Storm winning by half a length.

"It's a dream come true," said De Souza. "AWESOME STORM was my last ride before leaving Malaysia and it's my first ride coming back."

"Big Doctor is a very fast horse from barrier 1. I let him (Awesome Storm ) jump and came across. I just sat behind the leader. In the straight I put the pressure on him and he responded, never giving up."

A winner in five runs in Australia, AWESOME STORM has won 10 times in 18 starts in Malaysia.

This season's leading Nuqman Faris Rozi, who rode BIG DOCTOR, gained some measure of revenge when he beat De Souza (Emperor Taizong ) to win the next race on Limitless Stout .

Emperor Taizong was De Souza's only other ride of the meeting, his first day back in action in Malaysia.

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