Hat-trick hero Rodd pays homage to ‘teacher’ Nunes

Australian jockey Michael Rodd took the lead in the Singapore jockeys’ premiership following a riding treble on Friday night, but still showed his usual humbleness, especially after his first-pin win aboard Black Swan.

Sent out as the $13 favourite, the vastly-improved son of Sebring had to pull out all the stops to overcome a very resilient Panache (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) in the concluding stages of the $80,000 Class 3 race over 1700m.

Rodd was seen at his usual best, timing his ride to perfection as he stoked Black Swan up from the 700m to edge closer to the leading pack made up of Panache and Hidden Promise (Vlad Duric) before reeling in the pair for a half-length win.

Black Swan (Michael Rodd, No 2) gets the better of Panache (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) by half-a-length in
Race 3.

Panache was game in defeat. The Lee Freedman-trained son of Spinning World repelled Hidden Promise’s stinging challenge rather well in the home straight, but found one better in the end.

Hidden Promise shortened up inside the last 100m to run third another 2 ¼ lengths away while the other five runners did not play a significant part in the event.

While it looked like another vintage Rodd, the modest Melbourne Cup (Efficient in 2007) and Singapore Gold Cup-winning (Gilt Complex last year) hoop explained he had to apply a few recently-learned tricks of the trade from none other than former three-time Singapore champion jockey Manoel Nunes.

“Manoel and I used to ride trackwork together last time and he would always be yelling like a boss to me. Change the lead, change the lead!” said Rodd.

“I always thought horses changed legs naturally but Manoel explained to me it’s the jockey who had to get them to do it. I’ve learned so much from him and he’s taken my riding to another level – thanks Manoel.

“Like tonight, Black Swan was on his inside leg down the back and as he does, was wobbling coming to the home turn. But at the 300m, I got him to switch to his outside leg, from his nearside to his offside front and he just found another gear.”

Black Swan has taken his stakes earnings to just under the $240,000 mark for the Big Valley Stable.

Rodd also praised trainer Steven Burridge for the way he has nurtured the Japanese-owned five-year-old late bloomer into a four-time winner at the last 10 of his 30 starts.

“Sometimes we put pressure on these young horses far too soon. Steve has left this one alone and it’s done wonders on his confidence,” said Rodd.

“Not too long ago, he was struggling, but look how far he’s come. He is now winning in a quality Class 3 race.

“Steve has done a good job to keep him happy. I wish I was a pair closer tonight, but the two horses in front did a fair bit of work, and I just bided my time.

“He was in a good position down the hill and once he was on his right leg, he just quickened so well.”

Rodd’s other two winners were Prince Ferdinand ($16 favourite) for David Hill in the $20,000 Class 5 race over 1200m and Siam Gemstone ($17) for Michael Clements in the $45,000 Class 4 Non Premier race over 1100m.

With his hat-trick of wins, Rodd has propelled himself to the top on nine winners, one win clear of 2017 Singapore champion jockey Vlad Duric, who steered one (Kingsman) home in the penultimate race (see other report).

As for Burridge, the win stretched his current lead on the 2018 table to three winners – on eight, three clear of five trainers (Alwin Tan, Shane Baertschiger, Daniel Meagher, Michael Clements and John O’Hara).

“I think there is a bit of maturity (to explain Black Swan’s radical transformation),” said the Australian conditioner.

“It has taken a long time for him to put it altogether. He used to throw his head in the air, but he is all good now and Michael rode him very well.

“It’s also good for Masa Otani who has stuck with both (trainer Hideyuki) Takaoka and myself for so long.”

Autumn Rush gives Simon Kok dream start

Simon Kok Wei Hoong has loved horse riding since he was 10 but it’s taken him another 10 years to decide which way he wanted to go, and on Tuesday night the newly-licensed apprentice jockey stood tall at Kranji as he weighed in a winner at his first night of race-riding.

The Ipoh-born Kok got bitten by the horse bug when he watched his maternal uncle jockey Leong Kar Wah on TV. It wasn’t long before he was on a horseback himself and next thing he knew he went on to ride on the equestrian circuit for 10 years.

But if he wanted to follow into his uncle’s footsteps, he knew jumps and eventing would have to be cast aside one day.

Apprentice jockey Simon Kok Wei Hoong off to his first win aboard Autumn Rush.

Ditching oxers and piaffes, at 20 years of age, Kok joined Kuala Lumpur racehorse trainer Frank Maynard for one year before moving down South to Singapore to Kranji trainer Stephen Gray for another year. He then transferred his indentures two blocks away to Steven Burridge late last year, and that day he had long been waiting for finally arrived last week – he got his apprentice jockey’s licence.

One week later, his new boss entrusted him with no fewer than four rides at the inaugural Tuesday night meeting – reduced to three after Pure Spark was scratched. Such was the faith the Australian handler had in his new rookie that he backed his judgement by giving him such a healthy book of rides, including Autumn Rush, a leading chance in the $80,000 Class 3 Division 2 race over 1100m.

After an unplaced baptism of fire aboard longshot Keep The Justice where he was always at the rear (finished last), Kok did not let his best chance slip through his hands at his next assignment.

Punching Autumn Rush ($30) straight to the lead from barrier No 1, Kok exhibited great poise in the saddle despite being rather lanky for a jockey, allowing his mount to amble out comfortably and even giving him a breather midrace before letting him loose into the straight.

When the Keano five-year-old suddenly opened up to a three-length lead, it became increasingly clear the 22-year-old rider was only a few metres away from making a dream start to his fledgling riding career.

Riding hands and heels mostly, Kok did give a couple of slaps to his mount just to keep his mind on the job as he started to drift out ever so slightly, but the 50.5kgs courtesy of his four-kilo claim must have also been of great assistance as the gelding kept widening the gap to eventually cross the line by more than five lengths from Unconquered (Noh Senari) with Northern Sun (Wong Chin Chuen) third another 1 ¼ lengths away.

The winning time was 1min 5.38secs for the 1100m on the Polytrack.

“I’ve always wanted to become a jockey from the time I saw my uncle ride as a kid, but I joined the Ipoh riding club first to do equestrian riding, mainly dressage and showjumping,” said the former national Malaysian equestrian rider.

“I’d like to thank Frank Maynard, Stephen Gray and my current boss Mr Burridge for their guidance and advice but also the Perak Turf Club for giving me the motivation to become a jockey.

“Having been an equestrian rider has definitely helped me as a jockey. I’ve learned the basics there and it’s helped me with my balance now.

“But when I turned 20, I knew I had to decide between showjumping and racing as I’d be too old to become a jockey after that age. I think I’ve made the right decision.

“I’ve been in Singapore for close to 1 ½ years and it’s my home now. I don’t miss home much, but I’m very happy my mum and dad came from Ipoh to see me ride tonight – I actually told them I had a good chance in race No 7!

“I’d also like to thank the Singapore Turf Club for giving me a licence. It’s a great opportunity to be riding here against very good jockeys who also give me a lot of help and advice, like Glen Boss, Michael Rodd, Vlad Duric and (ex-jockey) Danny Beasley.

“I know I still have a lot more to learn and I will just have to continue working hard.”

Kok said the instructions on Autumn Rush were to either lead or sit second – and not to forget to make full use of his four-kilo allowance.

“The horse had an advantage with the four-kilo claim. He was in a good spot and in the straight, he just went home,” said the soft-spoken young man.

“Thank you to Mr Burridge and the owner for putting me on this horse.”

Burridge was for one rather thankful he had found himself a handy four-kilo claimer in his yard.

“Simon has been with us for three months and hasn’t put a foot wrong since,” said the Australian trainer who was extending his current lead on the log by two winners on John O’Hara (seven versus five).

“He can make the grade as a rider. It’s great his mum and dad came down from Ipoh to see him win; what’s more not many ride a winner on their first day.

“It’s also great for the owner (EZ Stable). We didn’t know if he would lead, I just told Simon if they go silly to just take a sit.

“He had no weight on his back, Simon let him stride along and they went all the way.”

The 2010 Singapore champion trainer was obviously chuffed with his flying start but knew only too well not to get too complacent with 10 months and a bit still left to go.

“Things are going well, I can’t complain. When the waves are up, you catch them and you just go with the flow,” was his simple summing up of the current good vibes.

Dalgety improves out of sight with visors on

Trainer Steven Burridge was the first to admit he made a blue when he saddled former Victorian Dalgety at his Singapore debut on January 7.

After watching the Domesday four-year-old’s past races which included one win on a heavy track at Sandown, the Australian handler declared blinkers as the headgear.

They were actually visors, which he mistook as blinkers in the TV replays. As a result, Dalgety beat one home in the Class 4 Premier race over 1400m.

Dalgety (Glen Boss) clears out for a facile victory in Race 3.

When Burridge realised his blunder, he quickly took corrective measures at his next start in Tuesday’s $45,000 Class 4 Non Premier race over 1600m: Visors were slapped on without further ado.

The difference was like night and day. While he was outpaced throughout at his debut run, he settled in midfield before rapidly closing in on leader and even-money favourite Amazing Man (Noh Senari) upon straightening.

Jockey Glen Boss gave a few shakes of the reins and Dalgety ($47) was off and gone. The Lucky Stable-owned galloper dashed clear to score by a widening margin of 4 ½ lengths over Amazing Man with Billy Britain (Michael Rodd) third another 1 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 35.56secs for the mile on the Long Course.

“When I saw the replays, they looked like blinkers to me! They didn’t have that side cut that visors have,” said Burridge, who with that win consolidates his current lead on the Singapore trainer’s premiership on six wins, one clear of John O’Hara.

“It’s only when I read they were visors that I realised why he ran so badly. Even Daniel Moor, who won on him in Melbourne and rode him at his first run here, said he was disappointing.

“But the visors switched him right back on tonight; he was a lot better. Maybe he also needed the run and more distance, and that’s why I also gave him more long work.

“The field was also weaker tonight but he’s definitely an up-and-coming horse, very promising.

“Wade (son) was the one who bought him for the Lucky Stable. He bought him for the Derby but he still has some way to go.”

Curatolo wraps up with double on Chalaza

After two winless meetings, French jockey Ryan Curatolo bounced back to the winner’s circle with a riding double on Friday night.

The former Macau-based rider began his new Singapore stint with one winner apiece (Yaya Papaya and Magic Paint) at his first two meetings, but went quiet after he fired blanks at the next two.

Curatolo was, however, back in the swing of things on Friday, when he made no mistake aboard $11 favourite Claudia’s Beauty in the $20,000 Open Maiden race over 1400m before ending the night with a flourish aboard $25 shot Chalaza in the last race, the $80,000 Class 3 race over 1200m.


Between pleasure and pain: The moment Ryan Curatolo makes a costly $500 gesture aboard Chalaza.

The US-trained hoop actually found himself in a pickle when he lost his whip as Chalaza was gaining momentum in a hotly-contested last furlong, but keeping his cool, he kept riding the Road To Rock five-year-old hands and heels to land the rewards as he kept his rivals at bay by half-a-length on the line.

Xiong Fong (Ng Choon Kiat) took second place, with $14 favourite Scorpio (Zawari Razali) given every chance but having to settle for third spot another head away. The winning time was 1min 9.82secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.

“When I lost my whip at the 200m mark, I grabbed his mane and pushed him with all my might, and luckily, he kept going,” said a relieved Curatolo at the winner’s circle.

“The horse was well placed. He was in the right spot in the race and was well trained.

“I got him balanced at the top of the straight and he produced a good effort to win.

“Things are going well for me. I’m working hard every morning and I will just have to keep it up.”

The win did not come without a hefty price for the Frenchman, though. In his exuberance, he raised his hand in a victorious salute, which was, however done just before the line, a celebratory gesture regarded as a transgression in the Stewards’ copybook and which lightened his pocket of $500.

Chalaza’s winning trainer Steven Burridge’s kind words might go some way in alleviating the pain a little for Curatolo.

“Ryan’s riding very well. He rode the horse good last start and he’s delivered tonight,” said the former jockey.

“He got him balanced right up in the straight and he timed the run very well. This horse needs to be ridden quiet, if he is too close, he plods home.

“With 57kgs on his back tonight, he was very courageous and has done a very good job.”

Raced by the Lim’s & Mark’s Stable, Chalaza was ringing up his fourth win from 13 starts for stakes earnings that have now tipped over the $180,000 mark.

Harry Eclipses rivals to soar to the top with Eagle

Former two-time Singapore champion apprentice jockey A’Isisuhairi Kasim has vaulted to the top of the heap in the senior league for the first time of his young career after he sprang a late riding double on Sunday.

The 2018 season has certainly begun in the best possible way for A’Isisuhairi, or ‘Harry” as he is better known, after he landed the first feature race on the racing calendar, the Group 3 New Year Cup (1200m) with Speedy Dragon on January 1.

One week later, he doubled the score with his best chance of the day, Eclipse Splash and a pick-up ride in the Lucky Last, Sahara Eagle. Both are prepared by his former master Steven Burridge and both were the top picks in their respective contests.

Eclipse Splash (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) claims the Class 2 race on Sunday first-up.

While Eclipse Splash is a horse the Group 1 Raffles Cup-winning jockey (Gift Complex last October) knows inside out for having partnered the Showcasing four-year-old at all his four wins, Sahara Eagle was a former Kembla Grange one-time winner making his Kranji debut.

But from the Colin Keane-owned gelding’s three winning barrier trials at Kranji, A’Isisuhairi knew he had grabbed a good chance of taking the lead, and he certainly did not let the opportunity go begging.

The joint $16 favourite crossed over nicely from his barrier No 9 to easily settle on the paint in the $60,000 Class 4 Premier Division 1 race over 1400m, pinching a commanding break at the top of the straight, only to be cut back late by the other $16 fancy, One Kinabalu (John Powell).

The former John Sargent-trained O’Reilly four-year-old still had 1 ½ lengths to spare from his gallant challenger with third place going to Happy Baby (Olivier Placais) another half-a-length away. The winning time was 1min 22.78secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.

In a way, A’Isisuhairi had followed the same blueprint which proved successful aboard Eclipse Splash (a noted on-the-pace runner) and for six of the 11 winners on that Sunday afternoon, anyway.

Leader bias or not, the Malaysian jockey could not stop enthusing about the Indonesian-owned gelding after he fell in by one length from Absolute Miracle (Olivier Placais) in the $100,000 Class 2 race over 1400m.

“First of all, I have to thank Shankar (Burridge’s track rider) who has done a fantastic job with this horse,” said A’Isisuhairi.

“He rides him every day and he has really helped the horse settle better. He used to be a hothead.

“He ran only one bad race for me and that was at his second start after his first win. I think he’s a horse who was still growing out and he may have felt the pinch second-up.

“He’s a horse who keeps improving all the time, and today, he really felt different, especially when cantering on the way to the barriers.

“He just put himself in the spot and today he really showed how good he was. He is a very honest horse with plenty of ability.

“The soft track didn’t worry him at all. It didn’t make any difference to his action at all.

“He travelled beautifully everywhere and at the top of the straight, once I balanced him up, he just kept going strongly to the line.

“I really think he’s an above average horse and there is a big race for him one day.”

Burridge was a little more measured at the winner’s circle but was also glad he has such a useful competitor in his barn.

“Today he showed he could handle the soft ground. He’s ultra-consistent and has stepped up to the mark again,” said the Australian conditioner.

“He was meant to run at the last meeting in December but he had a foot problem and I had to ease him up. He had four trials mind you and was in really good shape.

“I’m grateful to his Indonesian owner (Iman Hartono) and to his racing manager Sully (Eoin Sullivan) who does a great job in picking their horses.

“We’ll have to be careful with his prep, though, as he can overdo it at times, but I really think he’s a very good horse.”

A one-time winner for trainer Frank Maynard in Malaysia before he was shipped to Burridge’s yard at Kranji, Eclipse Splash has now brought up his Singapore record to four wins and two thirds from seven starts for prizemoney in excess of $175,000 for his connections.

Double dead-heat for Derreck David

Three races have ended at Kranji and five winners have saluted the judge.

Sorry, trivia buffs, we did not record out first triple dead-heat at Kranji, but it was still a rare phenomenon not seen in the annals of Singapore racing for a long time – back-to-back dead-heats.

Shortly after Lim’s Pershing and Little Master could not be split in Race 2 (see previous report), another dead-heat was in the works in the very next race, the $80,000 War Affair 2014 Stakes, an Open Benchmark 74 race over 1800m, when Mighty Kenny and Makanani finished locked together with the judge again semaphoring the “DH” sign on the electronic board.

The other singular fact which would have record hunters digging deep into their records was Derreck David being the winning jockey in both races. The South African rider was aboard Lim’s Pershing and Makanani. He later sealed a hat-trick of wins when he scored aboard Flash One in the $38,000 Always Certain 2011 Stakes, a Kranji Stakes D Division 1 race over 1200m.

Mighty Kenny (Nooresh Juglall, black cap) and Makanani (Derreck David, yellow blinkers) wear down
Show Far Show Good (Vlad Duric, on the rails) to dead-heat for first in Race 3.

The Japanese-bred and Hideyuki Takaoka-trained Makanani ($23) was whacking away with every stride as she tried to peg back leader Show Far Show Good (Vlad Duric), and just when she had it covered a few hops away from the line, the Ricardo Le Grange-trained Mighty Kenny (Nooresh Juglall, $46) swooped down late on the outside to halve the joy at the eleventh hour.

In a close go, Show Far Show Good on the inside just missed out by a short head to make it a historic triple dead-heat. The winning time was 1min 47.94secs for the 1800m on the Long Course.

“I’m not sure if it’s a record but it is certainly one for me,” said David about his rare feat.

“I’m so grateful to Mr Takaoka who has been my sole supporter for a long time. This filly is very talented even if she has lost her way in recent months.

“But she’s only a three-year-old and she can keep improving. I was happy to settle her outside the leader as she drops the bit when she comes back in and she then loses the plot.

“She dug down deep and it was a great result to get two dead-heats. Thanks to the Singapore Turf Club for the opportunity and for putting on a magnificent show today.

“I’m grateful to ride here, and more so on a Group 1 (Raffles Cup) raceday.”

His colleague and fellow South African Jockey Academy graduate Nooresh Juglall was equally delighted with the happy outcome even if he had to take turns to pose for the camera at the winner’s area.

“I had a great spot on the rails at the rear even if the two horses in front were not coming back. Once he saw daylight, he lengthened up really well,” said the in-form Juglall.

“It was a great effort as he was giving them weight. The 1800m on the Long Course is also not ideal for him as he’s more of a miler

“A big thanks to Mark and Emily Yong for the opportunity.”

Le Grange remembered the Mighty Kenny’s bloodines with a touch of emotion as he led in his 54th winner (no half-winner for a dead-heat recorded on the ladder in Singapore) for the season.

“He is a half-brother to Super Kenny, who was an out-and-out sprinter who, we know got galloped on and had throat surgery. He could have been anything without that,” said the South African conditioner.

“This one goes over more ground and can take both Polytrack and grass. It’s great to have Pat Shaw in town as well as Mark and Emily.

“I’m very grateful to my staff who do a lot of work behind the scenes.”

Black Swan sails away to easy win

Sebring five-year-old Black Swan was the popular pick in the $60,000 Class 4 race over 1800m on Friday, but there weren’t many who would have thought he would rout his rivals with so much ease.

After racing quite handy behind the leader Golden Thunder (Ng Choon Kiat), but three wide, an early move to hit the lead under Michael Rodd had most thinking he would come unstuck halfway through.

But the $16 favourite clearly had not spent a penny in transit, as he pinged again for a sizzling turn of speed hitherto unseen at his previous 29 starts.

Black Swan (Michael Rodd) makes winning look easy in Race 3.

By the 150m mark, they were so far ahead that Rodd could sit and pose for the camera as they went on to score by a widening margin of just under six lengths from Big Banker (Olivier Placais) with Danger Zone (Derreck David) third another nose away. The winning time was 1min 51.07secs for the 1800m on Polytrack.

Winning trainer Steven Burridge looked like he was pinching himself after he just watched his horse thump his rivals so emphatically.

“He’s had so many seconds and thirds, and it’s been so disappointing,” said the Australian.

“But with Michael Rodd tonight, he hit the line really well. He’s never won on Polytrack before and I didn’t expect him to win by that margin.

“I must have been off the ball!”

Rodd was at his second win on the Masa Otani-owned galloper, with the first one coming in inferior company (Class 5) over 2000m four months ago.

“I won on him over 2000m before, but he’s had a lot of outs since,” said the Australian jockey.

“He had no luck at his very next start. He is an on-pace runner and he showed a lot of zip and confidence tonight.

“I probably went a bit early but the race was soon over.”

With that third win from 30 starts, Black Swan has now taken his stakes earnings past the $170,000 mark for the Big Valley Stable.

Tough Justice holds court for second time

A carbon-copy of Lucky Justice’s last-start winning tactics went a long way in seeing the strapping galloper hit paydirt again on Friday night.

Five weeks ago, the towering son of Purrealist sat three wide for Glen Boss for the best part of a 1600m race for Class 4 Division 2 gallopers before slogging it out inside the last 300m to gain a head win from the fast-finishing Chase.

Throw in more or less the same ingredients in the mix – except for the rider with Boss away in Australia on holidays and swapping with Michael Rodd and an even worst draw (13 versus 7) – and invariably, trainer Steven Burridge would be loath to change a winning formula.

Lucky Justice (Michael Rodd) scores back-to-back wins in Race 7 on Friday.

Leaping straight out of the machine, Lucky Justice was scrubbed up early just to take up a prominent spot, before again being charted on a wide trip while punching the breeze, but always ambling well within his own steam.

Upfront, Manoel Nunes had slammed on the brakes aboard Knight Chen Bay, but Super Joe (Barend Vorster) would not be caught napping as he came to serve it up to Knight Chen Bay on the outside in an obvious bid to wrest the lead or pre-empt any tactical sit-and-sprint affair.

Nunes immediately responded by clicking Knight Chen Bay up to match motors with Super Joe while Lucky Justice ($32) had no other choice but to throw down the gauntlet by circumnavigating the two eye-balling leaders as the final turn loomed.

In one fell swoop, Lucky Justice dashed to the front, but Super Joe was not done for the night as he mounted a stiff fightback on Lucky Justice’s nearside. For a fleeting moment, it looked like Super Joe would turn back the tables, but Lucky Justice still had some petrol left as he clung on to a slender half-length advantage all the way to the line.

Arr Flair (Alan Munro) finished third another length away. The winning time was 1min 40.07secs for the Polytrack mile.

Burridge said that with his ample corpulence and giant strides, Lucky Justice is cut out for such free-galloping tactics on the periphery.

“Glen rode him the same way at his last win. He’s got big strides and you cannot break his stride, just steady him up on the outside and he will then race at his best,” said the Australian mentor.

“Michael was supposed to ride him last week but the race was scratched. As Glen is still away, I put Michael on and he rode this horse a treat.”

Rodd certainly got the timing down pat even if he was getting a leg-up on the Lucky Stable-owned galloper for the first time in a race. He trialled him once.

“This horse is really flying at the moment. He’s got a great set of lungs and he does it at both ends,” said Rodd.

“Steve said he would be wound up but I was able to get a rest twice – down the back and coming down the hill. I got to work on him from the 600m and he showed a good will to win.”

With that second success from 11 outings, Lucky Justice has seen his account swell to just under $90,000 for the Lucky Stable of Mr Robert Ng.

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.”

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.”