Newcomer Elite Invincible shows his class
Trainer Mark Walker says debut winner bought with the Singapore 4YO Challenge Series in mind
Remember the name Elite Invincible.
Earmarked as a horse for the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge Series next year, this nice addition to the champion trainer-elect Mark Walker's yard endorsed his classy credential with a scintillating debut victory in Race 3 at Kranji last night.
The manner he powered home under leading jockey Vlad Duric to beat the $15 favourite Montaigne by two easy lengths in the Class 4 Div 1 race over the Polytrack 1,200m had class written all over him.
Walker, who is well clear for his second champion trainer's title, agreed that the winner's owners, Elite Performance Stable, had bought the Irish-bred with the 4YO Series, which culminates with the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby, in mind.
"Well, that was the reason they purchased the horse," said the New Zealander.
"You know, he'll be better over more ground. Obviously, he's still acclimatising but he was really above himself tonight, so he's going to improve a lot.
"He's going to be a nice horse up here, once he gets over more ground. That's for sure."
A £150,000 (S$272,000) purchase as a three-year-old, Elite Invincible raced six times in the United Kingdom and Dubai as Qatar Man for a win over 1,609m at Kempton Park and three seconds, including one in a Listed race.
In Dubai, he was deemed good enough to race in the Group 3 UAE Guineas over 1,600m at Meydan in February. He did well to finish fourth.
On Dubai World Cup Day on March 25, he contested the US$2 million (S$2.7 million) Group 2 UAE Derby over 1,900m, finishing sixth on the soft ground.
Both races were won by Thunder Snow.
After the UAE Derby, he was acquired for Singapore racing. He landed on July 29 but Walker took his time with the horse and was duly rewarded.
"We brought him along quite quietly. He has been here quite a while but we just let him acclimatise," said the 2015 Singapore champion trainer.
"Yeah, he's quite an exciting horse. Looking at his form, I just wondered whether the 1,200m tonight would be a bit short.
"You know, it was a class ride by Vlad. He cut the corners, came out and he wound up really well."
Indeed, Duric deserves the accolades for his 10-out-of-10 ride on Elite Invincible.
Montaigne led but he was unperturbed even as Elite Invincible was slightly worse than midfield, painting the fence, some six lengths behind.
Round the bend, Duric knew it was time to catch up, making his move. He then took his $46 chance out for an unimpeded run after straightening up.
Montaigne was still well clear with 200m to go but Elite Invincible sprouted wings once he saw daylight and mowed down the front horses one by one and hit the front about 100m out.
"He's a beautiful, big, strong horse. He's obviously a horse with above-average ability," said the Australian, who is poised for his first Singapore champion jockey title.
"He was just tacking on the main group.
"Once I found daylight, I knew he had gears, so it was just a matter of not interrupting his galloping momentum.
"He was really solid, but still immature, and I think with a few more races here, he'll develop into a higher-end horse here.
On the 4YO Series, he said: "A hundred per cent. He's got staying form and I think, as the races get on a bit further, he's going to come into his own even more, so today is just a bonus."