Saimee's hard work pays off
Hong Kong-owned Cloud Shadow wins at fourth start
His connections were hoping for a decent show. After all, he had shown potential in his three previous runs.
His trainer, Saimee Jumaat had put in plenty of hours getting his charge in the right frame of mind. And his jockey, Noh Senari, had looked at the card, seen that his mount had a good draw and was hoping for the best.
As for punters, well, they were looking elsewhere for a winner.
But no one bothered to tell Cloud Shadow a thing.
So, when Race 4 on Sunday came along, he just went out and ran his race.
And he did it so well that, at the end of that 1,400m event, he had posted his first win for his owners, the Magus Equine Stable.
Yes, after three runs which could best be described as "lacklustre", Cloud Shadow had somehow turned his form around in that $20,000 Open Maiden sprint.
Neglected by punters at Kranji, the four-year-old went off at staggering odds and, if you were one of those holding a winning ticket on the No. 5 horse in Race 4 that day, you would have been rewarded with a hefty $236 payout.
All thanks to Cloud Shadow who, on the day, showed up in a lot more switched-on mood than previously.
Drawn barrier four, he began smartly and was able to follow closer to the speed.
That gave him the option of ambling along in an ideal stalking role and, when a passage finally presented itself at the top of the straight, the Beautiful Crown four-year-old grabbed it.
But to those in the stands - especially backers of the favourite, Well Deserved - they weren't looking at what Cloud Shadow was doing.
Their eyes were glued to the middle of the track where Ben Thompson had positioned Well Deserved for his run home.
And when the $13 favourite swept ahead of Glamourous at the 250m mark, the cheers rang out even louder.
But instead of widening the gap lengthwise, the grey did it breadthwise.
Jockey Noh couldn't ask for more as he punched Cloud Shadow right through along the rails, going on to finish at the thicker end of the prizemoney by a neck from Well Deserved. Glamorous held on for third another length away.
Saimee said that, though not supremely confident, he had been expecting an improved run from the Hong Kong-owned Cloud Shadow.
"We've been teaching him to race the way we want him to race. He was very green at his first three starts," said the former eight-time Singapore champion jockey.
"This time round, he was down in class and it was also the first time he had drawn a good barrier. With Noh riding him, I was quietly confident of a better run."
The in-form local jockey said the benefit of the three previous starts had Cloud Shadow in a better disposition to be competitive - both physically and mentally.
"It's the first time he drew a good barrier. He landed in a good spot and was always travelling very well," said Noh.
"He has been improving with each run and we were just lucky he stayed on for the win."