Racing

What a 'Super' way to call it a day

Quiet man Sonny Yeoh hangs up his binoculars

Sonny Yeoh bowed out on a winning note as he called time on five years of training career in Singapore on Sunday.

The younger brother of former vet-turned-trainer Dr Yeoh Kheng Chye is hanging up his binoculars exactly five years after he began operations on Sept 1, 2012, citing personal reasons for his decision.

He officially returns his stables on Thursday.

The Penang native flew off the starting blocks with a smashing first full season on 31 winners (his highest haul) in 2013, the headline act being no doubt Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge clean sweep hero Stepitup.

He kept up the momentum with 22 winners the next year, but his record nosedived to only nine in 2015 and seven last year.

Standing on 16 winners before Sunday, Yeoh saddled four runners for his last day at the office, but saw his chances of a fairytale ending reduced by 25 per cent when the well-in-the-market Conatus G was scratched in Race 2.

After Dragonhead ran nowhere in Race 3, it was left to his well-fancied duo of General Conatus (Derreck David) and Super G (Michael Rodd) to give the amiable trainer the perfect send-off.

In his own words, his heart was "pounding" when Super G, still a maiden after 13 starts, came with a withering run to hit the lead at the 300m mark.

It looked like favourite Mongolian Chief (Troy See) was the only one in the 12-horse field who could spoil the farewell party in the concluding stages, but Super G ($29) kept striding away to fall in by one-and-a-quarter lengths.

Forever the consummate professional, Yeoh still headed straight to the dismounting yard to check on General Conatus first before heading to the winner's stall for that last 94th winner.

But, as he was able to relax better, it was apparent the win had come as a sheer relief to him.

"I trained a winner at my very last race, it's great because my heart was pounding before the race," said the man of few words, and yet still summing it up the best.

"It's nice to end on a winning note after five years here at Kranji. Super G may be my last winner, but the good news is he will carry on racing, just like my other horses when they move to other stables."

When asked to name his best memories, unsurprisingly Stepitup, incidentally the first of his 94 winners on Sept 28, 2012, popped up in a flash.

"Stepitup was the best horse I trained and he gave me my biggest moment when he won all the three legs of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge," said Yeoh, who is one month shy of his 56th birthday.

"My biggest disappointment is my decision to stop training. I wish I could stay longer but I had to go for personal reasons. It's still been a great ride."

When asked what he had planned after training, Yeoh gave the safe answer. "I'll ask the wife," he said, and on that note, the quiet man of Kranji walked into the sunset.

Racing