Muscular sprinter flexes his muscles second-up
Bold front-runner MUSCULAR SPRINTER defied a high-pressure journey from start to finish to cling on to a slender advantage at the business end of Friday's $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1,400m.
Tackled by Magic Paint (John Sundradas), Muscular Sprinter, who had jumped smartly to find the fence, would not relinquish the coveted spot, with the pair soon slipping away to a commanding four-length break down the back.
From the way they were not giving each other an inch of ground, not many gave the battling pair much chance of fighting out the finish, especially as the swoopers started to close the gap from the 400m mark.
Magic Paint did run out of gas after his early exertions but Muscular Sprinter ($32) was surprisingly not a spent force yet, even though he rolled off the fence at the top of the straight.
Camera Stellata (Vlad Duric) was the one who looked the most likely to profit from the cutthroat duel, as he vied for that opening along the fence while two-year-old Funkadelic (Barend Vorster) was also chiming in to make the final stages even more interesting.
But Leticia Dragon's new ward would not buckle under pressure, as he mustered a last rally under apprentice Troy See to prevail by a neck from Camera Stellata.
Funkadelic looks to be one for the black book after he secured third place, half-a-length away.
The winning time was 1min 24.05sec for the 1,400m on the short course.
Third on debut in a Restricted Maiden race over 1,200m three weeks ago, Muscular Sprinter was expected to go close, but it was more his unyielding spirit inside the last 300m that won over both trainer and jockey.
"This horse has got a lot of potential. I think he can handle more ground," said Dragon, who was saddling only her sixth winner for the season.
"I really thought he would fade but he kicked again, which was a very good sign. We know he has good gate speed and it was always the plan to go forward, but we didn't expect the other horse to come alongside him.
"It was not an easy race but he showed plenty of courage to win, and Troy also showed some muscle."
See, who rode the Coats Choice three-year-old at his first race, said he went into Friday's race with a reasonable dose of confidence, but by the 600m mark, it had already worn thin.
"John didn't give us an easy time. Even though my horse was travelling okay, I was not so confident coming to the bend," said the Singaporean apprentice jockey, who has now drawn to within only one win shy of current leader MM Firdaus.
"Even though he rolled off, he still had enough petrol left in the tank to get the win.
"Here, I have to say he had an issue with one of his right teeth. It was too long and it made him lay out at his first race, and we had to get it fixed.
"Tonight, he went straight, no problem at all. The equine dentist has certainly done a good job with him."
Muscular Sprinter races in the colourful silks of a relative newcomer in the Muscular Stable.
Syafiq and Chavez suspended
APPRENTICE H SYAFIQ (above)
Sentence: Two Singapore race days (July 25 to July 31)
Offence: Careless riding on GREAT SUN in Race 10 on June 26
JOCKEY O CHAVEZ (above)
Sentence: Two Singapore race days (Tomorrow to Sunday)
Offence: Careless riding on TASSAJARA in Race 4 on July 10