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.

Lim’s Sparkle enjoys change of luck in Stewards’ room


When trainer Steven Burridge said at the post-race interview how unlucky Lim’s Sparkle had been at his recent runs and deserved to finally land his first win on Friday night, he must have thought he had spoken too soon when the “objection” sign flashed.

But to his great relief 10 minutes later, luck was finally on the side of the Stryker three-year-old after Stewards dismissed Captain Jamie’s jockey Nooresh Juglall’s objection for interference in the last 200m of the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1400m.

The head-on camera showed the two joint $12 favourites settle down for a good go inside the last furlong with Lim’s Sparkle drifting out ever so slightly under apprentice jockey Zawari Razali’s urgings as he tried to hang on to the lead he had established from the start, but it is quite clear he hardly took the rightful running of Captain Jamie.

Lim’s Sparkle (Zawari Razali) hangs on for dear life as Captain Jamie (Nooresh Juglall) and
Auspicious Day (Zuriman Zulkifli, obscured) come wearing him down.

Burridge must have thought some kind of hex had befallen the Lim’s Stable-owned gelding as three starts back, he was not so fortunate in the Stewards’ room for a similar protest hearing.

On that occasion, he was again first past the post with A’Isisuhairi Kasim up, but was demoted after Stewards concurred with jockey John Powell’s arguments that his horse Winterfell would have won if he had not been interfered with by Lim’s Sparkle.

Lim’s Sparkle scored by a short head from Captain Jamie with Auspicious Day (Zuriman Zulkifli) third another neck away. The winning time was 1min 23.2secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.

“He’s been very unlucky at his recent starts. Zawari rode him well, but he just could not come out at the right time,” said the Australian trainer.

“We thought tonight we would take a sit behind Mark Walker’s horse (Alrina), but he showed more gate speed than I suspected.

“They were able to dictate terms, and Zawari rated him well in front, and even though Juglall objected, I was not too worried. My horse never made contact with his.”

Zawari, who was bringing up his 18th win of the year, to cut back the margin on last year’s champion apprentice jockey Wong Chin Chuen to two winners, said he was surprised when the objection sign came up.

“I was surprised there was an objection against my horse. When you look at the replay, there is no interference,” said Walker’s apprentice jockey.

One last Casino roll before hitting the road


Missing the boat is normally not a good thing, but for Lim’s Casino, it meant hitting the jackpot all right.

The Casino Prince four-year-old was all booked to take the northbound-float to Malaysia last week, but for some reason, he could not get a spot.

Trainer Steven Burridge had to bring him back to his Kranji box, and next thing he knew, he was leading him to the winner’s box!

Lim’s Casino (Vlad Duric) scores going away in Race 3.

Making the most of an unscheduled situation, the Australian handler decided he might as well keep the previous four-time winner on his racing tucker, and spotted Sunday’s $60,000 Hello Moscow Stakes, a Class 4 Division 2 race over 1400m, as the ideal race to keep him earning his oats instead of loafing around in the transit lounge.

He was well inspired. Lim’s Casino romped home by just under three lengths, sending a resounding message connections might have erred in their decision to send him to “greener grass” across the Causeway.

But Burridge was still not sure if the all-the-way victory had saved the Lim’s Stable-owned galloper his box at Kranji.

“He should have gone to Malaysia last week, but he missed the boat!” said the Australian handler.

“I ran him today since he was still around, and he won a very good race. He’s always been an honest horse.

“Whether he stays or goes after today, I’m not really sure. It’s good to get a win out of him here for the owners anyway, especially today on Derby day.”

Duric, who can’t do no wrong these days, was adding a third win for the weekend after a riding double on Friday courtesy of Distinctive Darci and Macarthur, to stretch his lead on the jockey’s log to 14 wins (51 versus Alan Munro’s 37).

Unlike Lim’s Casino, Duric has a better idea where he is laying his hat for a while.

“He’s (Lim’s Casino) an easy horse to ride. He sprang the gates quickly and at the 600m, I knew I had the race in my keeping,” said the Victorian jockey.

“Coming back to the 1400m probably helped as well. I think the mile is a touch too far for him.

“I was just hoping he would keep running all the way – and he did.”

Lim’s Casino ($16) won by two and a half lengths from Gold Crown (Michael Rodd) with Keepitup (Manoel Nunes) third another half-a-length away. The winning time was 1min 22.64secs for the 1400m trip on the Short Course.

With that fifth win from 26 starts, Lim’s Casino has now taken his winnings past the $190,000 mark for the Lim’s Stable. It remains to be seen now if the next currency he banks in from now on is ringgit.

Juicy payout at the Casino

Lim’s Casino scored an upset win after he made all the running in the $60,000 Class 4 Division 3 race over 1200m on Sunday.

The Casino Prince four-year-old, who has not scored since September 23, the last of his previous three wins for Steven Burridge and the Lim’s Stable, has not been running too badly, but somehow, he was a little friendless in the betting, looking at his generous odds of $101.

Granted, $11 favourite Copacabana looked a moral after his flying second to Knight Chen Bay at his last run, but the Cliff Brown-trained galloper was never dangerous, staying at the rear right through, to beat two home.

Lim’s Casino (Glen Boss) on his way to victory in Race 3.

But up at the top of the line, Lim’s Casino (Glen Boss) controlled the race to a nicety after a smart jump. When Bear Witness (Danny Beasley) came armed with a stiff challenge at the top of the straight, some thought Lim’s Casino would knock up, but he responded like a bulldog inside the last 300m to prevail by one length from a game Bear Witness.

The fast-closing Effortless (John Powell) gave a fleeting impression he could sneak in between the duelling duo, but could only run third another 1 ½ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 10.8secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.

Burridge, who was recording his 20th win for the year, said Lim’s Casino was no world beater, but he does take some beating when things go his way.

“He’s a honest horse. Things did not quite work out at his last couple of starts,” said the Australian conditioner.

“He wouldn’t have won but he could have placed both times.”

Boss, who was at his first pairing with Lim’s Casino, said it was a straightforward run from the word go.

“He had a good jump and found the lead quite easily. He just got the right run from that point onwards,” said the Australian jockey.

“He was a bit strong in the lead, but I was able to get him to steady up, and he was just too good in the straight.”

With that fourth win, Lim’s Casino has now taken his total prizemoney past the $140,000 level for the Lim’s Stable.

Three unique jobs at the Singapore Turf Club – (2) Track Rider

Track rider Mohamad Faiz rode a pony once, but at the time, had no idea if there was a difference between a pony and a thoroughbred.
The 23-year-old Singaporean had that first pony ride when he visited a riding lodge near Johor Bahru in Malaysia on a holiday a few years ago.
He was hooked, but that one ride alone did not make him go down the path as a track rider, though.

Track Rider Mohamad Faiz rides three horses for trainer Desmond Koh every morning.

“At first I thought they (ponies and thoroughbreds) were the same, except for the difference in size,” said Faiz.
“My dad saw this STAR (Singapore Training Academy for Racing) Programme job advertisement on the papers, so I looked up the Singapore Turf Club’s website after my National Service and saw this video of a syce at work. I joined in September 2015, and completed the three months of training as a syce.
“While working as a syce, I took another six months to learn to ride properly at the riding school (STC Riding Centre) in between breaks during work. I became a track rider after getting the riding certificate in October last year.”
The young Singaporean rides three horses for trainer Desmond Koh every morning. Except for his rest day on alternate Sundays, he reports to work at 5.30am, and starts riding horses in trackwork from 6am to 10am. After a short break, Faiz resumes work in the afternoon where he would bring horses out for swims, walks and weight-taking.
“I like the feeling of riding a horse; it’s the adrenaline rush when a horse sprints, and I want to put the skills I have learned to good use, so I want to become a jockey,” said the STAR Programme graduate.
“Each horse has its own temperament, so we should listen to the trainer and regular rider’s advice since they know them better.
“I’m lucky I haven’t met with any accidents while riding, but we can’t say for sure in the future, so I’m not taking my safety for granted either.
“This job takes up a lot of my time, and I do get tired of the long hours at times, but I never thought of giving up because I love what I do.
“If you think there is an end to learning how to ride a horse, you are wrong because we’re always learning with horse riding.”

Check out Faiz’s interview here.

Visit the Community Job Fair @ Woodlands held at the multi-purpose hall (Level 1) of the Woodlands Community Club on 27th April 2017 (Thursday) from 10am to 4pm to know more about Singapore Turf Club’s STAR Programme.

For further enquiries regarding the job fair, please contact Nicole Goh at 6672 7580.

Three unique jobs at the Singapore Turf Club – (1) Stable Groom

Racehorses are our prized assets at the Singapore Turf Club. They are the key elements in the game of horse racing. These athletes need to be properly taken care of and looked after to ensure optimum performance in races.
Not everyone has the chance to work with these unique animals as closely as stable staff does. At least, it’s cooler to hang out with horses than computers all day!
Curious about our horsey business? Here’s a peek at the life of a stable groom.

Grooming and walking horses are part of stable groom Robin Peck’s daily work.

Stable groom Robin Peck can never forget the days he used to watch horse racing on the television with his grandfather. The thrills of seeing a horse win races left such a deep impression on him that he dreamt of becoming a jockey, which eventually led him to where he is now.
The 23-year-old Singaporean, who has a diploma in electronics, computer and communications engineering from Nanyang Polytechnic, worked in the marketing field previously.
It was a fairly stable job but Peck was after a different kind of “stable” job.
He made up his mind his life was with horses, but he felt that he needed to start somewhere to fulfill his dream.
After completing his National Service last year, Peck looked up online and joined the one-month course for stable grooms under the STAR (Singapore Training Academy for Racing) Programme in February without hesitation, much to the surprise of many of his friends.
Grooming horses, walking them, bringing them for swims, saddling, feeding and cleaning up their boxes are part and parcel of a stable groom’s (also known as a syce) daily duty.
Currently working under trainer Bruce Marsh, Peck is assigned to three racehorses at the yard. Every day, he reaches the stable before 6 am, and ends work at 4.30pm, with a break between 10am to 2pm. Peck only gets one Sunday off every two weeks, but he is not complaining.
“I always knew I wanted to be in racing, and even if it takes time for me to learn from scratch, it doesn’t bother me as that gives me time to build relationships with my horses,” said the Pasir Ris resident who has to wake up at 4am for work.
“My grandfather is happy of course, and my parents are supportive, but they would tell me to be careful too.
“I enjoy my work because the teamwork here (Marsh’s stable) is great, and other syces are helpful too.
“The first thing I learnt about horses is that despite their massive frame, they are actually easily spooked by unfamiliar sounds, and would rear up and what not. I’m not afraid of such situations; instead, I see it as a challenge I should overcome.
“To be a syce, you have to be adaptable, observant, and you must also be willing to listen to other people’s advice.”
And if all goes well, Peck will be heading to the STC Riding Centre this April where he will take up horse riding lessons to progress up to the next step of his career ladder – becoming a track rider.

Check out Peck’s interview here.

Visit the Community Job Fair @ Woodlands held at the multi-purpose hall (Level 1) of the Woodlands Community Club on 27th April 2017 (Thursday) from 10am to 4pm to know more about Singapore Turf Club’s STAR Programme.
For further enquiries regarding the job fair, please contact Nicole Goh at 6672

Regal tussle as Lim’s Royal downs Red Duke

The well-supported Lim’s Royal produced a late burst through a sardine-packed situation close home to land the prize in the $65,000 Initiation race over 1400m on Sunday.

At the 300m, punters looked like they had done their dough when the $11 favourite was caught behind the eight-ball between Taichi Belt (Vlad Duric) and The Golden Goat (Olivier Placais).

Sweating on a gap to manoeuvre through, jockey Danny Beasley seized the opportunity even if it came in half measures at the 200m as a needlehole passage between the two horses widened up.

Lim’s Royal (Danny Beasley, on the outside) flashes home late to beat Red Duke (Gerald Mosse, obscured).

It seemed to narrow down again as Taichi Belt rolled in, and with whips flying all over the place, the three raced tight for a few strides, with The Golden Goat – already a beaten horse then – taking the rough end of the stick as he got bumped sideways and lost ground rapidly.

But all honours to Lim’s Royal, who after elbowing his way through restricted room, still found another kick to go and beat Red Duke (Gerald Mosse) by a head with Ground Control (Glen Boss) third another 1 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 23.38secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.

Beasley played down the intrepidity of his decision to go where many would have feared to tread, paying all the credit to the Rothesay three-year-old.

“At his last couple of runs, he got off the bit all the time, and didn’t move when they left him where he was. He was really green and couldn’t go at all and was 100 yards behind the second-last horse,” said the Australian hoop.

“I had him in a good spot in midfield today but I don’t know what it was, he threw his head up every time I put a bit of pressure on the inside rein.

“Otherwise he was travelling okay. Shafiq (Rizuan on Jacks Secret) was three-quarter length off the fence and I didn’t want to go around him and waited for a gap to come up on the inside.

“The room between Vlad and Olivier looked good enough for him to pick it up. Think he got hit by Olivier’s whip and Vlad’s horse squeezed us in, but he got it right in the end.”

Burridge, who was at a training double having earlier won with Premier Fighter, described Lim’s Royal as a “good horse in the making”.

“He’s a nice horse, even if he’s still very green. At his first two runs, he missed the start, got squeezed and got back,” said Burridge.

“He’s a horse who does not have a sweat, he’s dry-coated, but he has plenty of upsides. He will go for a break now and when I bring him back, he will be a good horse in the making.”

Stronger Premier Fighter fires up at comeback

Patience is a golden virtue in racing and Premier Fighter was yet another classic example of that adage on Sunday.

Trainer Steven Burridge wisely decided there was not much point pressing on with the Oamaru Force three-year-old after he kept pulling up a little jarred up, even if he was trying his best at his first three starts – coming the closest at the last one on November 11 when fourth to Cadet.

A preliminary indication that the let-up was bearing fruit was when Premier Fighter won a barrier trial by more than three lengths on February 23, though the real test would be when he goes out there to frank that form in a race.

Jockey A’Isisuhairi Kasim takes a peek behind as he steers Premier Fighter to a smashing win
on Sunday.

That he duly did in smart style in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1000m on Sunday, aided in no small measure by a confident ride from A’Isisuhairi Kasim.

Parked outside race-leader Shoot Up High (Nooresh Juglall) from the get-go, Premier Fighter, who was sent out as the $15 favourite, was cantering as the field approached the home turn. After a few shakes of the reins, Premier Racing’s charge left little doubt in the minds who would reign supreme among the nine-horse field as he careered away to a 2 ½-length win from the late-closing My Horse (Olivier Placais) with Shoot Up High holding on for third place another half-head away.

The winning time was 58.97 seconds for the 1000m on the Polytrack.

“He’s a horse who showed ability last time, but he was soft-boned and he kept going sore. We decided to train him a bit differently and it’s worked out well,” said Burridge.

“He trialled very well a couple of weeks ago (won on February 23) and it’s great to see him win for Wade (son) and one of my loyal owners Ian Brown from Kuala Lumpur. He used to race Iluminado with me.”

At his first race-ride on Premier Fighter, A’Isisuhairi jumped off with the satisfied smile of a job well done.

“I didn’t want to touch him too soon. I saw at his last two runs he only has a short sprint,” said Burridge’s former two-time champion apprentice jockey.

“At the jump, he began really well and as there was no pace, I found myself landing in a more forward spot than I thought.

“All I did was to cuddle him up before going for home, but once he passed them, he was hanging out and looking around, a sign he was still pretty green.”