Shane wraps up great weekend with Aramco
$200,000 Group 3 JBBA Rocket Man Sprint
What a super weekend for trainer Shane Baertschiger!
Just two days earlier, the lanky Australian, affectionately known as "Stretch" at Kranji, captured the first leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge - the $250,000 Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1,200m - with Champion Juvenile Be Bee.
His fantastic luck continued yesterday with Aramco giving him his second feature success in two days by winning the $200,000 Group 3 JBBA Rocket Man Sprint over 1,200m against a top field in style.
What surprised Baertschiger was Aramco's $50 win dividend, despite the horse being a quality sprinter carrying a luxurious 50.5kg weight in this first leg of the Singapore Sprint Series.
Without naming them, the trainer was wondering why three jockeys gave Aramco the pass. The winning ride went to two-time champion apprentice CC Wong, who rode to instructions for a one-length victory.
Triple Group-winning Countofmontecristo, who was resuming from a spell, was gallant in defeat, carrying topweight of 59kg and giving the winner 8.5kg.
The Rocket Man Sprint started with Aramco's stablemate Best Tothelign missing the jump. Rafaello, who was also back from a spell, took up the lead and was a length clear of Countofmontecristo passing the halfway mark.
Skywalk was a close third. Aramco, fourth in the same race last year behind Lim's Cruiser, was slightly worse than midfield but travelling well.
Countofmontecristo, the $11 favourite, overtook Rafaello 300m out but laboured under the big load. When asked, Aramco slipped into top gear and raced past "The Count" in the final 150m to win easily. It was his fifth win in 12 starts.
"It's been a great weekend, won two features," said Baertschiger. "I thought he was over the odds at the weight and he's a proven good quality sprinter and his first-up record was very good. The three jockeys who got off him will be scratching their heads why."
"He has got to have the speed on and the speed was on. The main thing was he settled. He was a little keen early but CC managed to get him to drop his head. He got him to the outside, followed instructions and got the job done."
The second leg of the Singapore Sprint Series - the $500,000 Group 2 Merlion Trophy on April 27 will be run over the Polytrack 1,200m and Aramco has never attempted that surface before. But Aramco may head there, too.
"Well, it's the only option, unless we go straight to the Lion City Cup," said Baertschiger.
The $1 million Group 1 Lion City Cup over 1,200m is on May 26.
Wong considered himself very lucky to secure such a lovely ride.
"We jumped out good and the rest were going at a good tempo. I just didn't want to get too far back. He was a bit keen earlier on but he was travelling well," saidthe Malaysian rider.
"I had plenty in hand and just waited for the straight and he produced a good run."