Clarton Super continues charge of the light brigade
First-season trainer KS Tan's third career winner comes in the $350,000 Group 2 EW Barker Trophy
Lightweights have a terrific record in the $350,000 Group 2 EW Barker Trophy, a handicap race over 1,400m, and one more such winner was added to the honour list last night.
Clarton Super, just the third winner for first-season trainer Tan Kah Soon, joined the successful light brigade with a super run in the straight under veteran jockey Azhar Ismail with 51.5kg on his back, beating fellow lightweight and $94 outsider Fortune Winner (50.5kg) by half a length.
Clarton Super was originally handicapped with the minimum 50kg with his low rating but Azhar rode 1.5kg overweight on his mount.
The $51 winner was the 12th lightweight to score since the race was renamed EW Barker Trophy in 2002, from Silver Cup. Before that, it was called the Pesta Sukan Cup.
The Fantastic Dozen shouldered 50kg to 52kg to victory.
Azhar, who won his first EW Barker Trophy in 2004 on the John Meagher-trained Exaggerate, certainly knows Clarton Super at the back of his hand.
He was aboard all the five-year-old's starts, except his last outing when a beaten favourite under his nephew, apprentice Amirul Ismadi.
Azhar parked the Pentagon Stable-owned Clarton Super midfield last night, albeit a bit wide, as last-start Polytrack 1,100m course record breaker Pole Paradise disputed the lead with White Hunter.
The two leaders straightened up wide apart. Best Tothelign was next in the centre, trailing the pair by about two lengths.
The $20 favourite Aramco, who beat Clarton Super two starts earlier on Sept 8, crept up menacingly on the fence.
Azhar took his mount out for an unimpeded run and moved up gradually.
Best Tothelign and Aramco collared the two leaders in the final 200m but was in turn swept past by Clarton Super in the last 120m.
Champion apprentice CC Wong brought Fortune Winner home with a withering run but his effort was too late. Aramco finished third, a length away.
The winning time was 1min 22.17sec on a track with "give".
Trainer Tan was on Cloud Nine that his charge, whom he took over from his mentor David Hill just a run back, had made up for his last-start expensive failure.
"His prep coming into that race wasn't what we wanted but, you know, it ended well today," said the son of retired trainer Dr Tan Swee Hock.
"That's it, regardless of how he ran today, we had already decided to put him away for the year, and we'll wait until next year."
Azhar was more optimistic on the winner's future.
"He's got a very bright future, this horse," said the 54-year-old Penang-born.
"You know, he keeps improving and he'll be a force to reckon with next year.
"He was just fantastic tonight. Just disregard his last run, you know. He was disappointing but, today, under my hands, he responded very well."
Last night's win was Clarton Super's fourth from nine starts and he has amassed about $315,000 in prize money.