Favourites tumble, a star emerges
Billy Elliot, Sacred Gift and several others fall by the wayside, while Tiger Roar excites
It was not the way fans thought - and hoped - the racing on May Day would pan out. Especially so in the opener.
The jaw-dropper was the fact that Vlad Duric - the man of the moment after that five-winner streak the previous weekend - got mugged.
Sent off as the punters' banker and $11 favourite, Billy Elliot was regarded by many as a "napshot". As it turned out, the "certainty" was caught by Fireworks in the last few strides of the 1,400m event.
Billy Elliot had come into the race on the back of a good debut win - and he certainly looked too smart for Class 5 company.
But things happen that sometimes to derail the best-laid plans and Billy Elliot was a case in point.
Two things happened. He was caught wide for half the trip and, as his backers were later told, he returned lame off-fore.
So, as punters painfully discovered, the result they expected was not to be.
That said, all credit to Fireworks. He went into the race having won three times over the 1,400m trip.
And what a ride from jockey Marc Lerner. It did not matter that it was a Class 5 race. Riding like a man possessed, he caught Duric and Billy Elliot to win by a short head.
Trained by Tim Fitzsimmons, Fireworks paid a juicy $40 for the win.
But racegoers are a resilient lot. They kept the faith and were back in the second race, where they sent Wawasan out like as if he had an extra leg.
They were not far wrong. But the Open Maiden event over the Polytrack 1,000m was not a race for the faint-hearted.
Wawasan, ridden by Oscar Chavez, prevailed in a desperately tight finish, beating newcomer Dr Kardo by a short head.
From Desmond Koh's yard, he paid $12 for the win - not even enough to buy those heart pills which some friends of Wawasan might have needed after the race.
From then, those backing the favourites found themselves taking a beating. Like skittles, the heavily backed brigade were sent tumbling into oblivion.
Sacred Gift finished seventh to Sky Eye in Race 3. Golden Dash was fourth to Super Great in the next. The list goes on...
Shepherd's Hymn ($18) in Race 5, Circuit Star ($14), Vulcan ($13), Sacred Rebel ($12) and Lai Mak Mak ($17). And The Executioner ($15) in the last race.
All were backed. All were beaten.
Thank goodness for tiny mercies. And they came in the form of I Am Sacred ($15) and Tiger Roar ($11) in the 10th and 11th races in the programme.
I Am Sacred was a runaway, winning by 51/2 lengths, while Tiger Roar sneaked in to beat Gold Star by a short head to give a ray of hope for a place in the $1 million Kranji Mile on May 22.
Falcon Racing No. 7 Stable had forked out the late nomination fee for its rising star to compete in the Group 1 feature, but he still lacks the ratings to qualify. He can only get a berth if many of the higher-rated entries drop out.