Burridge gets 500th winner
'Problem horse' Callide River gives Australian trainer his half ton
Trainer Steven Burridge achieved a new milestone in his Kranji career yesterday when he saddled his 500th winner with "problem horse" CALLIDE RIVER in the opening race.
Ridden by jockey Corey Brown, the four-year-old Australian-bred gelding overcame a wide draw (No. 10 of 11 runners) to win by a length against what was a weak Class 5 field over 1,600m on the Polytrack.
Although Burridge (left) was not optimistic of Callide River's chances because of his poor recent form and a terrible trial, the money poured in at the last minute to send the horse off at half his quote, from $50 to $25 for a win.
"His last run was poor and he trialled terrible a week later, so it's just the weakness of the field, I think. Anyway, a winner is a winner," said the Australian.
"It's just a great place to train here and, you know, winning the premiership a few years ago was great and getting 500 winners, yeah, just hope it keeps rolling in."
Burridge, 59, crowned his best Kranji season in 2010, claiming the championship with 90 winners, including the Longines Singapore Gold Cup victor Risky Business.
The former jockey started his Kranji career modestly in 2004 with just two winners, starting with Dynasty Emperor on Oct 22.
He improved his tally tremendously in his full season the following year with 28 winners and has not looked back since (see table).
In 2006, he had the rare honour of shaking hands with Britain's monarch when he won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup with King And King.
He won the Group 2 2,000m race again in 2008 with Trigger Express and this year with Wild Geese.
He has had several other Group wins, including five cross-border ones (two Penang Governor's Gold Cups and three Sultan of Selangor Gold Cups).
Brown was just as pleasantly surprised with Callide River's win.
In fact, it was the Australian jockey's feedback to Burridge that the horse probably has a problem.
"Let's just hope many more in store but he's a funny horse," said Brown.
"I rode him last time out and I have hopped off him a couple of times, and said to Steve, there's definitely something wrong with the horse. But he never pulled up with any signs after the vet examined him. But, to me, there's something not right there.
"Today, he jumped good from a wide gate and put himself right in the race, travelled extremely well and won as he liked. But he did toughen up well.
"We know the horse has got ability but it may not be there at the moment but, I think deep down, he has got a few problems."
The race started with Eighth Wonder taking the lead from Callide River.
Turning into the back straight, Eighth Wonder led by a length from Callide River. Bay Of Island was three-quarters of a length away, closely followed by Super Star. The $9 favourite Winning Star, who was my best bet, was one and a quarter lengths behind.
Eighth Wonder increased his lead to two lengths from Callide River and Bay Of Island at the halfway mark. Super Star was another two lengths away, with one and a half lengths to Winning Star.
Brown made a quick move at the final turn and took Callide River past the leader on straightening. He kicked to a four-length lead at the 300m mark, making it hard for the chasers.
Jockey Nooresh Juglall drove Winning Star up to challenge, joined by the fancied Max Resourse, who was worse than midfield early.
Although his two challengers closed in gradually, the big lead he built enabled Callide River to win by a length. Max Resourse beat Winning Star by one and a half lengths for second.
Callide River's other win from 19 starts was over 1,600m on turf.
Burridge's annual score
2004 2 winners