Unplaced in his only ride last Monday, the 19-year-old made it count with his only engagement this afternoon when he piloted Happy Magic to a thrilling win in the Class 5 – 2000m handicap at Sungei Besi here today.
Happy Magic started a firm favourite over 1700m here two weeks ago but was no match for the runaway winner Gallant Black . However, he came into his own over the longer trip today.
Espindola rode a copy book race on the New Zealand gelding, settling him just off the pace early, then went up to join the pacemaker O'Reilly Bay approaching the 1000m.
Happy Magic broke away soon after the 400m and starteded to kick clear. Smart Investment , who made the run at the home turn widest of the field, gave chase in the final 200m and caught up with him in the closing stages.
But Happy Magic refused to surrender and held on to win by a short head. It was his third win in 15 starts.
"I really like Malaysia and this is a very good experience for me," said Espindola who rode at the Jockey Club Brasileiro for two years and was the champion apprentice in 2020.
"I did my best last week and got to know the track. Trainer Cheng (Han Yong) gave me another opportunity today and I am glad we won. The track here is very good to ride."
Espindola turned professional in 2021 and moved to ride at the Farwaniya Jockey Club in Kuwait and has 135 winners to his name thus far.
Cheng said: "I have to thank the owner who accepted my suggestion to put Espindola on the horse. The jockey did a good job and rode to instructions. Congratulations to him for getting a winner in his second ride for me."