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Former New Zealand softball representative turned champion jumps jockey Aaron Kuru has made headlines around the world after his awe-inspiring winning ride aboard maiden steeplechaser Des De Jeu at Awapuni on Saturday.
The pair fell after the first fence in the 3200m event, but Kuru showed his superior riding skills when he remounted Des De Jeu in the blink of an eye to continue the race and secure victory by half-a-length over Gagarin.
|Jockey Aaron Kuru celebrates a remarkable victory with Des De Jeu
Photo: Race Images Palmerston North
“It’s just one of those things that just happened,” Kuru said.
“It was his first go over the bigger fences and I think he was probably a bit fresh and he’s just jumped the fence a bit big and we’ve landed a bit steep.
“Looking at the replay, my mount went down and as he stopped sliding he was coming back up onto his feet and I did exactly the same and got back on.
“The horse felt one hundred percent. I would have been the first jockey to pull him up if he didn’t feel sound. I’m only a small factor in the win, the horse was out there running and jumping and it’s all credit to him. He was amazing.”
A humble Kuru avoided the media up until yesterday, with last year’s New Zealand Champion jumps jockey switching off his phone to go hunting in Taranaki after Saturday’s races.
“I’m just out there to do my job,” he said. “I’m happy with the win, but I know all this (media attention) comes with racing. But I basically just switched my phone off.
“I have just got back from Waverley where I went hunting with Matthew Cropp. My partner drove home and I was just on the phone replying to messages and answering the phone finally.
“My phone has gone flat a couple of times because of the fact that there has been a lot of notifications and emails, it’s been crazy.”
Des De Jeu is one of only a few horses Kuru has ridden for local conditioner Mark Oulaghan and said it was one of the highlights of his riding career to date.
“I haven’t had many rides for Mark Oulaghan and we all know what he’s done. It would definitely have to be up there with one of the nicest wins I have ever had.” – NZ Racing Desk
Footage of Aaron Kuru’s supreme horsemanship aboard Des de Jeu