Maximus does it all the way
Pole position and soft lead help Alwin Tan's charge to fifth victory
Yesterday's sole six-figure race appeared to be a grudge match between Maximus and Black Swan, probably the most improved horse in the last nine months.
Maximus beat Black Swan two runs back on the Polytrack but Black Swan squared off last time out on turf and is now a possible Dester Singapore Gold Cup entry in November.
But, with a 1.5kg pull in weight for a nose defeat and back on the Poly, Maximus looked to have the upperhand over his last-start conqueror in the $100,000 Kranji Stakes B event over 1,600m.
Yes, the Alwin Tan-trained five-year-old American-bred ticked all the right boxes and the $14 favourite did not let his fans down with an easy all-the-way victory.
Racecaller Matthew Jones was candid in his call when he said there was no Black Swan yesterday, as the Steven Burridge-trained five-time winner in the last nine months failed to let fly and finished sixth of 10 runners.
The joint $36 third favourite was impounded for a veterinary examination.
Besides the weight and Polytrack advantages, Maximus was also helped by two other factors yesterday - the inner-most barrier and a soft lead.
In addition, he had aboard the rider who knows him inside-out - Troy See. All of Maximus' five victories from 11 starts were with the season's leading apprentice jockey astride.
When the gates opened, See got Maximus off to a smooth start and and a relaxing lead on the shortest route home.
Black Swan was further back than midfield passing the winning post for the first time.
Maximus led cosily into the backstraight and was a length in front of Mighty Kenny at the halfway mark. Brahma Circus and Yulong Honor were another length away. Then came the $21 second favourite and light-framed Aotearoa, Robin Hood and Black Swan.
See kicked Maximus to more than a length lead on straightening. Only Mighty Kenny looked a threat. The rest were battling. Mighty Kenny, who started as the same price as Black Swan, tried desperately to catch up.
But, instead of conceding ground, Maximus kicked further and further away under See's riding to win by two-and-a-half lengths in 1min 40.89sec.
"Troy knows this horse very well and I think he has got some luck with him," said trainer Tan.
"Now he looks more like a staying type. At the moment, I don't have anything in mind, but I will go back and take a look to see what kind of feature races for him."
See knew he had the race sewn up once he found no chasers after obtaining the cheap sectional.
"He got an easy lead and nobody tried to stir up the pace, and he was fantastic," he said.
"I could dictate my own pace and it was over. It was catch-me-if-you-can in the straight.
"He was drawn barrier 1 and he ticked all the right boxes. Thanks to Alwin and the owner for putting me on."
Asked if Maximus could go further than 1,600m, See said: "He's bred to stay, so he should relax."
Maximus has scooped close to $230,000 in prize money for IB Racing Stable.