Chavez snares the Oscar with four-timer
Trainer Baertschiger and jockey Kellady have three winners each
Saturday's racing kicked off with a surprise hat-trick in the first three races by trainer Shane Baertschiger, then the excitement just got better and better.
Jockey Matthew Kellady, who rode Baertschiger's first and third winners, added to the intrigue by achieving his treble in the most interesting manner.
He made full use of his Race 7 chance mount Anpanman, replacing the indisposed Marc Lerner. He looked poised for a narrow victory when apprentice jockey Krisna Thangamani got the Jerome Tan-trained stablemate Turf Beauty to level up on the line for a dead-heat.
The excitement did not end there.
Oscar Chavez, who had a double with the Hideyuki Takaoka-trained Fort Mustang in Race 4 and the Young Keah Yong-trained Arion Passion in Race 6, took over the spotlight.
The Panama-born naturalised Singaporean kicked home the winners of Races 8 and 9 to bag a four-timer which shot him a few rungs up to sixth spot behind Vlad Duric in the jockeys' premiership with 12 winners.
His winners came from the Michael Clements-trained Tangible and Takaoka-trained Matsuribayashi respectively.
Chavez came close in the opener. His mount, the David Kok-trained Star Empire, led but was caught close home by Baertschiger's From The Navy.
"I've ridden four before, here in Singapore and also in Panama, but don't ask me when it was," said the 46-year-old.
"This one is even more special after the hard times I've been through. You know, Danny Beasley and I have waited for a long time to get our licence back and there are no harder working jockeys than the two of us.
"We are both here at 5.45am every morning and we are the last to leave at 10am. This is the reward of our hard work."
In late 2017, Chavez was left puzzled when the Singapore Turf Club did not renew his licence. He had to fly in and out of Singapore to other countries, like Macau and Malaysia, to continue his trade.
But he secured his licence back from Jan 1 this year.
Initially for only six months, it has been extended to the end of the year.
In mid-February, the jockey suffered a setback when a freak accident while fixing his fence resulted in him being sidelined for eight weeks.
He fractured his left thumb, which required the insertion of a steel rod into it.
With a full book of rides in the card of 11 on Saturday, of which Buuraq was scratched from Race 5, Chavez was hopeful of "at least four winners".
He was confident of "underclassed" Matsuribayashi in a weak $30,000 Class 5 Div 1 race over the Polytrack 1,700m.
He had only two horses behind as the field swung into the back straight. But he started to move up quickly into a handy position, albeit very wide out.
Continuing his progress, his mount overtook the two leaders 300m out for a comprehensive 41/2-length victory.
"He was underclassed and was unlucky at his last couple of runs. I made my move around the field from the 700m as I knew they could not catch him," he said.
While Chavez was looking forward to a good outing, Baertschiger was a bit downcast - all because mostof his runners were drawn wide.
"I told myself I was done for and here I am winning the first three in a row," said the lanky trainer they call Stretch at Kranji racecourse.
From The Navy, one of his two runners drawn better than seven, won from Gate 5. King Albert Park and Kiss Your Song both won from barrier 10.
King Albert Park was the first leg of a double for Beasley, who also scored on the Leslie Khoo-trained Strong N Smart in Race 5.
The Australian returned to riding this year after a 3½-year off to be an assistant trainer-cum-senior track rider to trainer Daniel Meagher. He now sits second in the jockeys' table with 21 winners, three behind Duric.