Nimitz declares war at first outing

The $35,000 Open Maiden race over 1200m produced a shock result with the winning debut of $120 roughie Nimitz on Friday.

Ridden by Singapore’s leading jockey Vlad Duric, the Steven Burridge-trained newcomer flew the lids before spearing over to the front with little fuss.

But once in front, he got a touch keen, throwing his head about once in a while, even though he had the shadow roll and the hood on.


Nimitz (Vlad Duric) springs a major upset to score on debut.

His experienced pilot, however, was on top of things throughout, and once the gelding was rebalanced into the home straight, he gave another turn of speed to kick clear to a commanding two-length win from another debutant Howl (Olivier Placais).

Favourite Lim’s Magic (Glen Boss) rattled home late on the outside to take third place another neck away. The winning time was 1min 10.46secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.

Burridge said Nimitz came to him unraced with one barrier trial win at Wyong under his belt, but he could still feel his rawness right away.

“Wade (son) bought him. He won a barrier trial at Wyong, but he was still very green when he started working,” said the Australian conditioner.

“It took me a while to get it right. I thought he had ability but he was drawn awkwardly on the outside, which was a bit of a query, but he won good in the end.

“It’s great for his owner, Andrew, who is my accountant, and Ron Shim, and of course a big thank you goes to my staff.”

Duric said Nimitz, a four-year-old by Ready’s Image, was still the raw deal, but should develop into a handy individual once he gets the racing caper down pat.

“He’s still very raw and green. When he got to the front, he was like ‘what do I do now?’,” said the Australian jockey.

“He hung out the whole way in the straight, but he kept hitting the line very strongly.”

Eclipse Splash lowers Chopin’s colours

It was a scenario not many would have predicted, but Eclipse Splash turned giant-killer in the $80,000 Class 3 Division 1 race over 1400m on Friday night.

That was the race that Michael Clements’ unbeaten rising star Chopin’s Fantaisie had picked to make his comeback after a 40-day layoff.

But a major upset was in the air when the $8 hot favourite was further back than he normally was in the running.

Eclipse Splash (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) denies the fast-finishing Chopin’s Fantaisie (Glen Boss) of a fifth consecutive win.

Seventh for most of the way while noted frontrunner Big Man (Vlad Duric) led from Eclipse Splash, Chopin’s Fantaisie had the same number of horses to run past upon cornering.

Upfront, the white face of Eclipse Splash ($29) had hit the front with great cheek with lightweight Show Far Show Good (Derreck David) trying to stake a claim as well.

Well ridden by A’Isisuhairi Kasim, Eclipse Splash was doing his best work at the finish and holding his margin very well, even if he was stargazing a touch.

Just when trainer Steven Burridge and Indonesian outfit Eclipse Stable thought their charge would upstage the hotpot easily, the latter started to sprout wings under Glen Boss’s hard riding.

For a second, it looked like Chopin’s Fantaisie would spare himself the blushes, but Eclipse Splash still had some petrol left in the tank as he hung on with half-a-length to spare in the end.

Smokie Gariza (Oscar Chavez) also joined the fray on the outside but peaked on his run to finish third another half-a-length away. The winning time was 1min 22.2secs for the 1400m on the Short Course.

Burridge described Eclipse Splash as a genuine horse who has exceeded his expectations ever since he came to him after his sole winning debut in Kuala Lumpur for Frank Maynard.

“He’s done a very good job, he’s an up-and-coming horse, very promising and with a lot of scope,” said the Australian trainer.

“Coming off from Malaysia, his form has been quite solid ever since. The favourite was hard to beat but he’s been a bit unlucky, I don’t know.

“But my eyes were on my horse and Harry rode him very well. There was a strong pace and Harry just sat off it and rode him really well to the line.

“Here I again have to thank Sully (Eoin Sullivan), the racing manager for the owner, Mr Iman Hartono who is here tonight.

“The horse has had five starts for me and he continues to improve. Tonight he won in a very strong Class 3 race.”

A’Isisuhairi said Eclipse Splash was still a bit of a baby, but certainly had plenty of upsides about him.

“I rode him at his two previous wins, and I’ve won on him again tonight. He showed me again how good he was,” said the Malaysian jockey.

“He’s still learning but he is on his way to better things. He can gallop, and from the way he won in Malaysia, I knew he could win in Class 4 and I always believed he could win in Class 3, too.

“Once he puts it all together, he will turn into a decent horse.”

The two-time Singapore champion apprentice jockey said he thought he would dig Eclipse Splash up a little earlier this time going with his last barrier trial on August 17.

“He used to settle midfield but he won going all the way at his last run and he again showed speed at his last trial,” he said.

“He jumped good today and as he’s a horse who doesn’t like to be held back, I slipped some reins and let him stride along to sit off behind the leader.

“He was very comfortable and once he found his balance, he kicked clear, but he wanted to stop once he hit the front. He was twitching his ears, thinking the job was done, but he’s got big strides and he just kept going.”

Sullivan said he had not been all that confident the Showcasing four-year-old would come up trumps with the presence of Chopin’s Fantaisie in the line-up, but was glad his visit along with Mr Hartono was greeted with a superb win and an opportunity to head on down to the winner’s circle for a photograph.

“I wasn’t sure he could win, but we still decided to come to Singapore to watch him and we’ve also got Moritz Eclipse (just failed to catch favourite Justice Light) in the last race,” said Sullivan.

“Eclipse Splash is still a bit weak but Steve has done a great job with him and Harry seems to get along so well with him.

“The owners have bought a half-brother of his. It’s still a baby and should be racing here soon.”

With that third win from five outings, Eclipse Splash has taken his stakes earnings past the $115,000 mark for the Eclipse Stable, not to mention the RM40,000 he made in Malaysia from that one-from-one win.

Lim’s Racer back to her best as she takes last

Former Aushorse Golden Horseshoe winner Lim’s Racer returned from bone chips surgery a brilliant winner on Sunday.

Unsighted since an unplaced run in a Class 4 race over 1200m in February, the Red Giant mare again reigned supreme in her customary on-the-pace style to make it barrier-to-box in the last race, the $60,000 Class 4 race over 1100m on Polytrack.

Ridden by star Hong Kong apprentice jockey Matthew Poon, Lim’s Racer, wearing earmuffs for the first time and pacifiers again, shot to the lead from her handy barrier before dropping anchor to catch her breath midrace.

Lim’s Racer (Matthew Poon) makes every post a winning one first-up from a break.

Wonderful Knight (Benny Woodworth) and Grey Falcon (Manoel Nunes) made a line of three as they stayed in close attendance, but she always looked like she was being ridden on a piece of cotton.

When Poon went for the shillelagh in the home straight, Lim’s Racer ($25) responded with a potent acceleration that left Wonderful Knight standing, but not quite Grey Falcon who persevered with his challenge on the outside.

Race-favourite The Cosmos (Zawari Razali) was within striking distance as well, but Lim’s Racer never showed any letting up as she went on to salute the judge by 1 ¼ lengths from Grey Falcon with The Cosmos third another 1 ¾ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 4.94secs for the 1100m on the Polytrack.

Winning trainer Steven Burridge was delighted his former juvenile champion (2016) has not lost her qualities after the operation, even if he thought the 2016 Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) winner might have needed the run.

“She’s always been a high-quality filly, but you never know what can happen after a chip operation,” said the Australian handler.

“You cannot train her 100% as you would train another horse. I thought she would be underdone, but hoping her class would see her through.

“You can only hope you’ve done enough for her to run a good race, and she would not be too taxed. I was glad to see her begin well as she bombed the start once (Group 3 Juvenile Championship).”

Burridge also praised the copybook ride from Poon, who said he had nothing but good vibes after he got acquainted with her in a gallop.

“I was told she had an injury, but when I galloped her, she felt normal. I was quite confident with her,” said Poon who was sealing off his lightning two-week Kranji stay on a winning note – his sixth in 26 rides (read other report).

“She jumped quickly and I gradually let her stride to the front. Once she got going again in the straight, she was too good.”

The win brought up a perfect afternoon for Burridge as his only other runner Lucky Justice came with a sustained run under Glen Boss to land the chocolates in the $60,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1600m.

“It’s been a good day at the office. The horses are running well these days,” said Burridge.

“We went through a bit of a quiet time, but things have really picked up since, and let’s just hope it stays that way.”

With that third win from seven starts, Lim’s Racer has now taken her prizemoney record past the $250,000 mark for the Lim’s Stable.