Racing

Richebourg is above average

All flash and fire, the youngster will win more races

He was a precocious youngster. All attitude and flash. Indeed, we saw the fire in him when, at his second barrier trial at Kranji, he had the cheek to unseat our champion jockey Vlad Duric and toss him to the ground.

It sent a message to his connections. this fella, Richebourg, needed more barrier trials before he could be deemed ready for his debut.

Well, we know the rest. When trainer Mark Walker finally tossed him into the deep end, Richebourg didn't just swim. He struck gold.

Yes, when he won on Sunday, his connections knew they had a horse who was above average. A racehorse who would go on to win more races.

After all, and back to that race on Sunday, he didnt just win it. He blew away his rivals, winning that $20,000 Open Maiden by more than four lengths.

His owner and trainer had been a little wary how the Real Saga four-year-old would go first-up given his barrier antics.

Even if he did mend his ways, Walker still held some reservations given the stark contrast between a rehearsal and a real race, but he had to give him his baptism of fire at some stage.

Not only did he go in like a lamb, but the way he just blew away his 10 rivals like they were tacked to the ground certainly pleased the two-time Singapore champion trainer no end.

"We certainly didn't think he could win the way he did," said Walker. "He's obviously made a lot of improvement - which is the exciting thing about him given his barrier history.

"After he threw Vlad off in the barriers, John Pepe and Damien Kinninmont (Singapore Turf Club starters) came in to help. They had to work for a long time with him, and all the credit should go to them."

Walker's apprentice jockey Zawari Razali, who was at his only booking of the day, was glad things worked out the way they did.

"He's a nice horse. I know he gave some problems before but when I got on him, he was not naughty at all," said the Kelantan-born rider.

"In fact, he was very quiet and was loaded up quite easily. During the race, he jumped okay, but he was off the bit at the 500m, and I thought he was gone then.

"But at the 400m, he picked up the bit again and he showed a very nice turn of foot to win the race very easily."

Race favourite Pure Spark (Ryan Curatolo) was the best away and still looked full of running at the top of the straight, but once Richebourg ($69) sailed past him on the outside, it soon turned into a one-horse race.

Richebourg defeated Pure Spark by 4 1/4 lengths with Mr Coppola (Alysha Collett) third another short head away.

Richebourg clocked 59.71 seconds for the 1,000m on the Polytrack, giving the impression he would be even better over more ground.

"This horse is still improving and he definitely can go further," said Zawari.

HORSE RACING