Chavez takes both 'Maidens' for Al-Arabiya
A horseman par excellence, Chavez lands a treble on a starry night
Those "Maiden" races are always a treat to watch. Precocious youngsters - all gung-ho and going hell for leather just so as to get that important first win on the board.
There were two such races at Kranji yesterday and both lived up to pre-race hype and expectations.
Early in the evening, in the "Open Maiden", Za'eem proved to be gold dust to his connections - the Al-Arabiya Stable - when he tasted glory with a display of guts and sheer fighting spirit.
Jumping cleanly from his spot nearest the rails, his rider and man-of-the-evening Oscar Chavez was unperturbed by the pace set by El Tordillo and Energizer in that 1,600m race.
So he kept Za'eem tucked away in the box seat - happy to be away from the tussle up front. Into the straight they were still a couple of lengths in arrears.
That was when Chavez earned his riding allowance many times over. Peeling his mount to the centre of the track, he went after the leaders. In a flash, the $8 raging favourite had them covered.
Almost on cue, the grandstand erupted and the faithful applauded - believing, quite rightly - that they were witnessing a good 'un in action.
Chavez was beaming as he tossed his goggles to the crowd. He, too, would have known just how good his mount was - and could turn out to be.
To his credit, Keep Winning - ridden by CK Ng - turned out to be the danger. He had come in for some serious betting just before the "off" and, at some stage, looked like justifying that bit of confidence.
But, on the day, it was not to be. Za'eem, a four-year-old chestnut, had enough in the tank and he kept up a brisk gallop to shed his maiden status.
Later, in the fourth event, we saw the now-familiar colours of the Al-Arabiya Stable beat the opposition out of sight to land the "Restricted Maiden" event with their three-year-old, Raheeb.
The race was over the 1,200m - but, bar the shouting, it was all over a long way from home.
Indeed, it was pleasant to watch the juvenile go through his paces as if he had been doing it for years.
Again, the crowd must have loved it. And, why not? Like they did with Za'eem in Race 2, they sent him off at unbettable odds. But such was the ease of his win that the $8 seemed justified.
Although the winning margin would go into the books as being a length and three quarters, Raheeb was a winner a long way out and, aside from having to give his mount a few gentle taps with the whip just to keep his mind on the job, Chavez had a sedan-chair ride.
Chavez would go on to steer home a treble - his third winner being Carnelian in Race 5.
This year, the Al-Arabiya Stable will not be able to lay claims to the top owners' title. But watch for them in 2018. With youngsters like Za'eem and Raheeb having won in style and a string of excellent horseflesh in their barns - the sky's the limit.
Yesterday's Kranji trackwork
WORKOUTS BY HORSES RUNNING TOMORROW
RACE 1: General Conatus canter/45.8. Raptor (T Krisna) 42.6.
RACE 3: Tesoro Privado (Vorster) 44.5.
RACE 7: Majestic Empress (Vorster) 43.5.
RACE 8: Cool Cat 39.
RACE 9: Lim's Archer 42.5. Zac Ace 41.5.
RACE 10: Magic Wand (Vorster) 42.1.