Mr Malek puts hands up for Stewards’ Cup
Burridge-trained top sprinter-miler trounces Class 2 rivals in lead-up race
What a win by Mr Malek at Kranji on Saturday, when he annihilated his Class 2 rivals over 1,400m despite carrying the 57kg top weight.
Once he took the lead shortly after straightening, he practically left his rivals standing still. At the post, he was 21/2 lengths ahead of second-placed Passport To Rome.
Nowyousee, fresh from his sixth behind Minister in the $1 million Group 1 Kranji Mile a fortnight earlier, finished third, a head away.
Mr Malek, the even-money favourite, covered the trip on the Short Course D in 1min 22.92sec on the rain-affected track.
Trainer Steven Burridge was hoping for an improved performance from Mr Malek's debut third under his care and he could not be happier with the splendid result.
This is because the Australian had charted the Oscar Stable's top sprinter-miler for the $150,000 Group 2 Stewards' Cup over 1,600m on July 3.
"Mr Malek has trained on since his first run for us. You're always worried when a horse hasn't run for four months and he then backs up after two weeks for his second-up run," he said.
"But I was happy with the horse going into the race. I thought he needed a bit of luck at the weights but he got a nice posie in the race.
"He got a bit tight for a run, but he's quite a relaxed horse, and he did a good job to find his way out. The 1,200m was too sharp for him at his last start, and today, 1,400m was better.
"The 1,600m will be even better, and all going well, he should get the 1,800m of the Derby. Things are going the right way for him."
The Group 1 Singapore Derby is on July 25.
Before joining Burridge's yard, Mr Malek was trained by Lee Freedman for six wins, a second and two thirds from 10 starts.
He ran second in the Group 1 Lion City Cup over 1,200m and was third in the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic over 1,400m last year. Both races were won by the Cliff Brown-trained Inferno.
Brown and Freedman have since returned to Australia.
Just a race later, the Burridge and jockey A'Isisuhairi Kasim combination struck with $36 chance Seson in the $30,000 Class 5 Div 1 event over the Polytrack 1,200m.
It was the trainer's second double in a week, having saddled Wealth Elite and Chalaza to victory seven days earlier.
Burridge, who has had a quiet season, has tallied eight winners this year.
"We've had no winners for a long time, so it's nice to get another double today," he said.
"Seson was at his first Polytrack race, but he trialled good on the surface before. He overraced with the blinkers at his last few starts and I decided to take them off today.
"He's no world beater, but he beat quite a fair field today."
Having won twice and finished second twice from a dozen starts, Seson has taken his prize money to about $50,000 for his owner, Ng Tet Kong.
Mr Malek has earned about $385,000 for Phua Chian Kin's Oscar Racing.