By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Like a relief pitcher in baseball, Hastings jockey Sahin Civaci is ready to take the call to action at a moment’s notice.
It happened out of the blue this past Monday when trainer Jim Brown found himself searching for a rider for Hunters Appeal in place of injured Jeffery Burningham.
It would not be an easy task. Hunters Appeal’s previous start had been a third place finish in a $16,000 claimer on July 16 and now here he was entered in the $50,000 Sir Winston Churchill Derby Trial before a massive holiday Monday card in the BC Festival of Racing.
Not only did Civaci pilot Hunters Appeal to a stunning upset victory over odds-on favourite A.P. Zona, he established the biggest payoff of the afternoon: $74.30, $18.80, $7.00. If you want to take it a step further, the Exactor with A.P. Zona finishing second paid $380.10 and the Triactor jackpot was $950.40.
Civaci is an interesting study. He was born in Vancouver but at the age of 10 his parents moved back to their native Ankara, Turkey. In his early teens Sahin enrolled at a course sponsored by the Turkish Jockey Club and soon decided riding horses was what he wanted to do for a living.
Civaci arrived on the Hastings Racecourse scene in 2014 and, in his words, was fortunate enough to join forces with former rider and now jockey agent Chad Hoverson.
Sahin was quick to thank Hoverson in his victory interview with Drew Forster at trackside after Monday’s win. “This is my first stakes win in Vancouver,” he said, “and I must thank Chad Hoverson who believed in me since day one. I appreciate the opportunities he has given me.”
Jim Brown, or simply ‘Brownie’ to his friends, along with Hunters Appeal owner Mohamad Khan can now look forward to a date in the $150,000 Grade 3 BC Derby on Saturday, September 9.
The relief pitcher came out of the bullpen beating what appeared to be insurmountable odds in the Sir Winston Churchill Derby Trial.
With all due respect to the legendary Turkish proverb, you might say that on BC Festival Racing Day Sahin Civaci “brought the mountain to Mohamad”.