Sports

Munro breaks jinx with Origin Fast

MORALE BOOSTER: Jockey Alan Munro ending a near two-month drought with Origin Fast, who fended off the late challenge of Confiero in Race 5 on Sunday.

Jockey Alan Munro finally ended his barren spell that was threatening to stretch to two months as he steered ORIGIN FAST to an all-the-way victory in the $75,000 Novice race over 1,100m on the Polytrack on Sunday.

For good measure, the English rider ended the day with a double when he took the last event on $191 outsider MULAN, who was also trained by Hideyuki Takaoka.

Origin Fast, an Australian-bred filly, took off like a rocket and, despite some late pressure by runner-up Confiero (Oscar Chavez), managed to hang on to win by a half-length, with Kiss Me (Danny Beasley) three-quarter length away in third.

The winning time was 1min 6.47sec.

When he steered Zac Spirit to victory in the Group 1 Lion City Cup on April 27, little did Munro know that he was going to hit a brick wall.

After all, he had just picked up his fifth Group 1 title since relocating here in 2012 and was second in the premiership table with 30 winners behind Manoel Nunes, who then was just 14 winners ahead.

The well turned dry for the English rider who has endured a frustrating barren spell since that Sunday afternoon.

Not only has Nunes pulled away at the top of the standings - celebrating his 60th win last Friday, but Munro's nearest rivals (the Australian trio of Danny Beasley, John Powell and Corey Brown) have all taken advantage of his slump to overtake him, relegating him to fifth on the jockey's log.

WHEEL OF FORTUNE

"That's racing for you, it's a wheel of fortune of good times and bad times," said Munro, who is not one to get caught up in the emotion of his sport and betrayed only the hint of a smile even as compatriot and trainer David Hill offered his congratulations.

"I'm just glad my bad run is finished."

In fact, it had looked a formality when Origin Fast, a three-year-old by Exceed And Excel out of Westphalia, burst from the blocks and quickly got around the pack to take the lead inside the first 200m.

"She messed up her start the last time but I had no hold on her, but today she jumped smartly and she was much better focused," said Munro, who also saluted aboard the Hideyuki Takaoka-trained galloper two starts back.

With an uncontested lead, Origin Fast, who was well-supported at $23, looked home and dry down the straight.

Former Selangor-based galloper Confiero was the only threat but the winning post came to Origin Fast's rescue.

"She's still a young horse and can improve," said Takaoka.

"She has some nice pace and tends to do well against this level of competition. Maybe she can move up to Class 3 eventually."