Racing

Chopin's Fantaisie's joy and sorrow

Trainer Michael Clements' talented galloper will be out for six months with second bleeding attack

Leading trainer Michael Clements was happy with talented galloper Chopin's Fantaisie first-up victory on Sunday, but his joy soon turned to sorrow.

His charge had bounced back from a break with a courageous nose win in the $100,000 Japan Racing Association Trophy, a Kranji Stakes B race over 1,400m but was found to have bled again. This will put the horse off for some time again.

It was certainly heart-breaking news for the connections as the Pins four-year-old fell prey to the same scourge of racehorses at his last start in the Group 1 Raffles Cup over 1,800m in October, when a gallant fifth to Gilt Complex.

After showing all the patience in the world to bring the Jubilant Racing Stable-owned galloper back to race fitness from the sidelines, Clements deserved kudos for producing him first-up for such a tenacious win.

Ridden by regular partner Vlad Duric, the brave warrior fought like a bulldog all the way to the line to just deny Viviano (apprentice jockey Zawari Razali) by a nose.

The Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge, which had long been earmarked as his main goal this year, was all systems go. But the sight of his reddish nostrils on the way back to the winner's stall straightaway told his handler they were going back to the drawing board.

Under the Malayan Racing Association rule, Chopin's Fantaisie will face a six-month ban before he can race again, subject to passing a bleeder's test.

Clements, who is leading the Singapore trainer's championship with 21 winners, accepted the fate sportingly as such setbacks are part and parcel of racing.

"The Four-Year-Old series is over for him. He is going to the paddocks in Cameron Highlands," said Clements, dejectedly.

"We did the same thing with him after he bled the first time after a win. He really turned in a brave performance today, he'll come back."

Sent out as the $20 favourite, Chopin's Fantaisie whipped around from his outermost alley in the 14-horse field to sit outside Viviano before putting the acid on the leader the entire length of the straight.

The ding-dong battle looked like it could go either way, but in a supreme effort, Chopin's Fantaisie lunged at the line to come out at the thicker end of the prize money by a whisker.

Chalaza (Ryan Curatolo) made stacks of ground for third, two lengths away. The winning time was 1min 22.88sec for the 1,400m on the Long Course C.

Duric was just as gutted by the run of rotten luck that does not seem to be leaving the side of Chopin's Fantaisie, a horse he has partnered in all his eight starts and six wins, bar one run when second with Glen Boss up.

"Viviano is a very competitive and genuine horse and he had the fitness on his side, plus the 1kg pull in weights, which speaks volumes for my bloke," said the leading jockey.

"He (Chopin's Fantaisie) was fit enough for today's race and was quite fresh. He was so relaxed when he came across for me and switched off so beautifully throughout the race.

"It's a shame he has bled again. He's such a good horse."

With that latest success, Chopin's Fantaisie has taken his stakes earnings past the $275,000 mark.

HORSE RACING