Whistling Win all the way
$168 outsider takes second leg of the six-race Singapore Golden Horseshoe Series
The race was labelled as a grudge match between Singapore Golden Horseshoe Series first-leg winner Charger and runner-up Bringer Of War.
But it did not go to script in this second leg of the series, the $90,000 Singapore Silver Horseshoe event over the Polytrack 1,000m, with the second-least backed runner and newcomer WHISTLING WIN ($168) leading all the way to beat the third-least backed horse Auspicious Day by two lengths.
Bringer Of War, the $11 favourite, could only finish third, a neck away in the eight-horse field of two-year-olds.
Charger was a big disappointment. The $14 second fancy travelled and straightened wide to beat only two home.
Whistling Win, a chance mount for jockey S John, who replaced John Powell who had a sprained back, jumped brilliantly and disputed the early lead with Bringer Of War. Close-up were Auspicious Day, Yaya Papaya and Antheia.
Whistling Win popped ahead at the 700m mark from Bringer Of War on his inside.
Like Charger, Bringer Of War probably fell victim to the second-run syndrome, having to saddle up within a fortnight, as he struggled to keep up with Whistling Win.
When John asked for something in the straight, Whistling Win kicked, first to a comfortable one-length advantage and then two in the final 200m. With Bringer Of War running out of breath, it was left to Auspicious Day to give chase but the winner was just too good.
Although the price didn't endorse it, trainer Leticia Dragon gave her chestnut colt some sort of a winning chance, especially when the KC Tan-owned horse had trialled well.
"I did actually, because from day one when he came here, he showed a lot of potential," said Kranji's only woman trainer.
"We didn't do many trials. He only had two, but still, he was a very forward horse, very professional in his work and I liked him from day one."
Whistling Win will now press on with the Singapore Golden Horseshoe Series.
John, who trialled the horse, was thankful to be given the chance to ride the horse.
"I think the star is on me today. It was a nice pick-up ride, so I didn't want to waste it," said the Singaporean rider. "He trialled very well and I told Leticia this horse has got a lot of abillity.
"He never behaved like a colt. Morning trackwork, he behaved himself. Even in the race today, he behaved very well. Once he jumped, he put his mind there and he ran good."
ALWIN TAN CROSSES 400-WINNER MARK
Whistling Win was the second leg of a double for John, whose Race 2 win on class dropper SOON YI gave trainer Alwin Tan his 400th winner.
For good measure, Tan also won with the aptly named HAPPY SAGA in Race 4.
The Poly 1,000m appeared short for Soon Yi but, luckily, the fast pace suited the seven-year-old American-bred, who came from worse than midfield to take the Class 5 event by one-and-a-quarter lengths.
"I think today the drop in class helped him and we used S John who knows this horse very well and he did the job," said Tan, the reigning champion. "We had to save him up till the straight and then try our best because of the 59kg and the 1,000m."
On his new milestone, Tan said: "I think it is very challenging in Singapore. We must have a lot of good horses with a lot of owners' support. That's why I could reach that target."