It's cheers to first-time winners

Amirul and Powell steer home Harveywallbanger and One Kinabalu

Kranji on a Friday night saw two youngsters break through for their maiden wins and, with natural progression, both look to have successful Singapore careers ahead of them.

First off was Harveywallbanger. Intoxicatingly exciting as the vodka-based drink he is named after, he hit the front on settling and never surrendered his lead - cruising in by a neat length.

Just a three-year-old, he was confidently ridden by bang-in-form apprentice Amirul Ismadi.

Although challenged up the straight by King Of Household and stablemate Kranji Gold, Harveywallbanger "kicked" at the 200m mark and it was all over bar the shouting.

Right now, Amirul is riding the crest of a wave and last Sunday saw him boot home another Cliff Brown-trained runner in Don De La Vega.

Beaming through his braces after the race, the 23-year-old rider said the front-running tactics paid off. "I gave him all the rein that I could give," he said. "He is a good horse and he is still improving."

Prepared by Brown, Harveywallbanger came in for inspired betting and a late plunge just a minute before the "off" saw him crash from a three-figure outsider to a $56 winner.

Some lucky punters were obviously smiling all the way to the bank. Good for them.

Then in the next race, One Kinabalu finally broke through for his maiden win. And he did it the hard way. From Shane Baertschiger's yard, the four-year-old "trier" had to weave his way through the field in that 1,200m event.

Then, when the straight was reached, he had to be peeled out wide before he could spot daylight. That done, he finally charged home, depriving Amirul of a race-to-race double.

Ridden a treat by John Powell, One Kinabalu would get the verdict by a head - beating Libeccio, with King Of War, ridden by Michael Rodd, lining up in third.

Elated with the victory, Powell reminded us that One Kinabalu had filled the minor placing on nine occasions. "And, four times he has been unlucky to run second," he said. "Everything worked well for us tonight."

It certainly did - especially for punters who were rewarded with a more than expected $15 payout.