Racing

Refresh gives trainer Kok the last laugh

Newcomer with no takers springs $169 surprise

Those who did not buy a share in REFRESH would have been kicking themselves when he scored on debut at Kranji on Sunday.

Trainer David Kok tried to sell shares or 100 per cent of the son of Rock 'N' Pop to some of his owners after he bought him for NZ$31,000 (S$31,500) at the Ready-To-Run sale in New Zealand last year, but his offer was not taken up.

Even though the dam, Wahaha, is the mother of Kranji gallopers Euro Zone and debut winner Soonbaby, not bad horses in their grade, that did not sway them either.

In the end, Kok decided to keep all the shares for himself, hoping his judgment would not prove too costly.

On Sunday, he recouped a big chunk back after Refresh, unwanted at $169 for a win, repelled all challengers under apprentice jockey CC Wong to land the $75,000 War Affair 2013 Stakes, a Restricted Maiden race over 1,200m.

Bustled up early by Wong to take a prominent spot, Refresh probably won the race when he secured the lead early before handing it up to favourite Boy Wonder (Manoel Nunes) down the back.

Metallocene (Matthew Kellady) ranged alongside to form a two-pronged attack on Boy Wonder upon straightening.

While Metallocene was green and hung out badly, Refresh was peeled off Boy Wonder's heels for his move and was moving a lot more professionally even though he was only two.

He did roll out under pressure, but he never broke his momentum and, at the 150m mark, Kok could already head down to lead in his fifth winner for the year.

As I couldn't get any of my owners to buy him, I kept him for myself, and it's great he's won today, especially as it's been so long I haven't had a winner. Trainer David Kok

Boy Wonder hung on for second place, two-and-a-quarter lengths away, with Sahaba (Oscar Chavez) third, three parts of a length away.

The winning time was 1min 10.82sec for the 1,200m on the Long Course C.

"It's good to see him win first-up as I own the horse by myself. He won a breeze-up in New Zealand, and I bought him as I also liked his first-season sire," said Kok.

"As I couldn't get any of my owners to buy him, I kept him for myself, and it's great he's won today, especially as it's been so long I haven't had a winner (since Racing Talent on June 9).

"Today, I asked CC Wong to go forward as I worked out there wasn't much pace to the race."

Wong was not at his first time atop Refresh as he rode him at the second of his two barrier trials, in which they ran eighth to Iffragal, but was never tested at any stage.

The run actually left the Singapore champion apprentice jockey quite indifferent.

"He didn't show anything and as I thought he was a bit of a one-pacer, I decided to go forward and he would have a better chance up there," said Wong.

"He followed nicely behind the leader, and I was very surprised when he gave a nice kick.

"Maybe he is a different horse when he is on turf."

Racing