Racing

Strong N Fast lives up to his name

Leticia Dragon's newcomer clobbers rivals on debut

If you're planning on entering the racing game as a horse owner, here's something to think about.

Choose a macho name for that prized possession.

Nothing wimpy.

Something that will ensure he won't get bullied in the stable, have his oats stolen from his feed bin and, most importantly, a name which he - or she - can carry proudly onto the racetrack.

Something like, Strong N Fast.

It works, you know. Like on Sunday, a new addition to trainer Leticia Dragon's yard sent echoes racing through the empty grandstand at Kranji when he clobbered his rivals in the $20,000 Open Maiden race over 1,200m.

Originally known as BM Pins, the Burgundy four-year-old was renamed by his owners in that same indomitable spirit as their other charges like Strong N Powerful, Surpass Natural and Exceed Natural.

Again, they were certainly hoping such a tough-sounding name would translate into toughness on the track.

Well, it sure did, even if they had to wait sometime before they could see the results.

Fast he was indeed at barrier rise, when he was one of the smartest away, holding the rails for most of the journey, keeping the favourite Maceo (Matthew Kellady) out on a limb.

Into the straight, and the Strong part kicked in.

Under jockey John Sundradas' urgings, Strong N Fast powered away to detach himself from Maceo.

If horses could speak, that would have been when he said "Gotcha". Because, from that point onwards, he literally strolled in.

The winning margin was just under three lengths.

Phaxe took third.

Of course, Dragon was delighted with the first-up win from a horse who had been at her stables for a long time.

"I have to thank the owner (Powerful Stable) for being so patient. This horse has been with us for more than a year," she said.

"He was bought as a yearling and we left him in New Zealand for a year. He was very immature when he came to us, and that's why we gave him more time to come through.

"He was reaching the galloping stage when Covid-19 hit us. He was also very unsettled at the barriers, and that's why I was apprehensive about his first race.

"But he was settled at the races. Good job to the handlers, they've done very well with him, and well done to John, too, he rode him very well."

Dragon reckoned her charge's trials did not really give her a lot of confidence until the last one 10 days ago.

"He showed ability in that one, and he won it," she said.

"I don't have anything planned for him, just take him through the grades and see how he goes."

Dragon had two other runners on the day.

Strong N Brave didn't do much on his debut but she should be proud of Strong N Powerful.

He put up a gallant show in Sunday's big race - the $250,000 Group 2 Singapore Classic - by finishing second behind Inferno.

On the day, no-one was going to touch Inferno.

So, to run second was a huge statement and a thumbs-up for Singapore racing's first and only local woman trainer.

Cheers, Leticia.

HORSE RACING