Finally, Duric brings one home for 'Stretch'

Leading hoop teams up with Baertschiger and Faaltless for rare victory

Leading jockey Vlad Duric was tickled pink he finally rode his first winner for trainer Shane Baertschiger on Friday night.

Strangely, the two Australians are leading protagonists in their respective logs at Kranji, but they don't team up all that often, and certainly had no victory celebration to share despite having Kranji as a common battleground for so many years.

Even when Shane was assistant trainer to his father Don during the time Duric rode with success at his first three Singapore seasons between 2009 and 2011, not a single winning combination was sealed between the two parties.

Duric rode a grand total of 214 winners during that time and uncannily, not a single one came for the now-retired Australian veteran trainer, who to be fair tends to use mainly his stable jockey John Powell or Matthew Kellady.

The Victorian jockey made his comeback last year, booting home 66 winners, and those repelling poles between the Baertschigers and Duric seem to have been perpetuated - until FAALTLESS finally brought an end to that oddity at Duric's 348th winner at Kranji in the $125,000 Kranji Stakes A race over 1,200m.

Perhaps the singular fact that does not add up the most about the two men taking a wide berth from each other at the winner's circle was that they are actually good friends off the track.

"I'm so rapt for Shane and Scotty Bailey his assistant-trainer as we're all good mates," said Duric.

"A few times John (Powell) could not ride a horse, but I could not get on for some reason, and their horses bloody won!

"That's been the story between us. He did offer me a few rides but I jumped off and I'm glad I didn't let this one go. Shane and the boys had this horse spot-on and he was beautifully prepared for this race."

Punted down to $17 favouritism, Faaltless indeed took the race by the scruff of the neck at barrier rise when he shot to the lead from barrier one.

Challenged in the straight, he did not buckle under pressure to beat Super Winner, with Rafaello third.

Baertschiger, who has been running up and down saddling his big team of horses in the last three races of the night, remembered the times when Duric became the nearly-man for them.

"He was supposed to ride two horses for me but he couldn't and they both won," said the Australian trainer. "But it's all good, he's got a winner for us."

A seven-year-old, Faaltless has now won eight races and over $600,000 in stake money.