Racing

Elliot Ness third-time lucky

Record-breaking winner gives trainer Walker and jockey Duric the first leg of their five-timers

After two close seconds, Elliot Ness nicked it in the best possible way at Kranji on Saturday - by breaking the Polytrack 1,100m record.

Named after the US prohibition agent, made famous by The Untouchables movie starring Kevin Costner, the Fortuna NZ Racing Stable-owned three-year-old clocked 1min 03.65sec in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden event in Race 2.

The previous record of 1min 03.67sec was held by Tuesday.

Elliot Ness was the first leg of five-timers for trainer Mark Walker and jockey Vlad Duric.

Walker went on to saddle Axel (Race 5), Big Regards (Race 6), Sacred Croix (Race 7) and Savvy Command (Race 9).

Big Regards, Sacred Croix and Savvy Command were also ridden by Duric, who took the final of 11 events on the Shane Baertschiger-trained Kings Command. Incidentally, Elliot Ness was Duric's 600th winner at Kranji.

Axel gave new rookie Jerlyn Seow Poh Hui her first winner. The 27-year-old Singaporean had 11 seconds from 70 rides before that.

Elliot Ness tracked champion trainer Michael Clements' pair of Sahabat and Skylight, before letting down with a devastating turn of foot in the last 300m.

Without really being given full rein by Duric, Elliot Ness still effortlessly detached himself from the pack to score by 33/4 lengths.

His time would have been a lot faster had Duric not relaxed before the winning post.

Walker made it a tierce. His newcomers Reignite and King Arthur finished second and third respectively.

Duric was obviously delighted with his 600th winner milestone on a personal level. He complimented former multiple-champion jockey and trainer Saimee Jumaat, who is now a senior track rider for Walker.

"I'm really rapt I got my 600th win. It's something to be proud of, I guess," said the four-time Singapore champion.

"It's Saimee Jumaat who had been trialling this horse up and told me a while back about him. He pinpointed him to me and told me to put my backside on him.

"He broke the record easing down. In 12 months' time, he'll run in the Lion City Cup."

In the premier sprint later that afternoon, Duric was shouted the winner on the James Peters-trained favourite Grand Koonta. But, alas, he had to settle for a narrow third.

The Daniel Meagher-trained Lim's Lightning powered home under jockey Danny Beasley to win. Jockey Wong Chin Chuen brought the Ricardo Le Grange-trained Rocket Star from second-last at the top of the straight for second.

Like Duric, Walker reckons Elliot Ness is "a straight out-and-out sprinter".

"I may look at the 1,200m leg of the 3YO races, but I'm not sure about the second leg over 1,400m," said the three-time champion. He was referring to the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint on June 27 and the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic on July 18.

"For now, I'm looking at a Novice race over 1,200m on May 22. Today, he jumped really good and tracked up with cover. He then showed a great turn of foot. He's a nice horse going forward."

Another brilliant win from the clearly reinvigorated Sacred Croix seems to have swayed Walker from his original intention of opting him out of the $1 million Group 1 Kranji Mile on May 22.

The Kiwi had felt running him at weight-for-age conditions might not be a good idea.

"He's grown physically stronger as an older horse, and he has hit a purple patch of form," he said.

"He went off the boil for a while, but we gave him a break after the Singapore Gold Cup (11th to Big Hearted last November) and he has struck a rich vein of form since.

"I will need to get Vlad's opinion about the Kranji Mile, especially as he carried 57 kg today. I know Vlad is riding Top Knight, which I totally understand, so I may have to find another rider if Sacred Croix runs."

His top-form apprentice, Hakim Kamaruddin, could be the one as he knows the horse very well, having won on him at his three previous wins.

HORSE RACING