Two course records broken
Nova Swiss clocks 57.70sec for Poly 1,000m; Black Swan 1:51.07 for Poly 1,800m
It's rare to see two course records being broken in a day but that was the case at Kranji's Polytrack meeting last night.
In Race 3, Black Swan whitewashed his Class 4 opposition over the Polytrack 1,800m in 1min 51.07sec and, three races later, Nova Swiss took the Kranji Stakes A event over the Poly 1,000m in a sizzling 57.70sec.
The stable confidence was there, so it was no surprise that $16 favourite Black Swan obliged. But what was surprising was not only the five-and-three-quarter-length winning margin but also his winning time, which shaved 0.10sec off the record set by Itiswhatitis in Kranji Stakes C in March 2013.
Ridden by his first winning jockey, Michael Rodd, Black Swan sat in midfield, as Golden Thunder led from Anghiari and Black Thunder, with a small gap to Danger Zone and Big Banker.
Danger Zone swung wide to overtake the leader turning for home. But, in a trice, Black Swan swept past him and tore away with ridiculous ease, like he was in one race and the others in another.
This prompted racecaller Thomas Wood to say it was "a win of epic proportion".
Winning trainer Steven Burridge was so confident of his only runner for the night that he asked Black Swan's owner, Masa Otani of Big Valley Stable, to attend the races.
"He has raced very consistently but has never won on the Polytrack before, but he has always run well," said the 2010 Singapore champion.
"I didn't expect him to win by that far. I did tell Masa to come tonight. I must be on the ball."
Rodd said that after he rode Black Swan to win over 2,000m in June, he thought the horse would be a very good chance at his next start over 1,800m but the horse had no luck and finished eighth with Matthew Kellady astride.
"He got back to his usual position and had no luck, so now he's up on the pace a bit more, he showed a bit of zip and he has a lot of confidence," said the Australian, admitting he was surprised at the ease of the win and the record time.
"You saw it tonight, I clicked him up at the 600m and, thereon, he had an economical run. I knew I got going a bit earlier but, you know, the race was over."
In Nova Swiss' case, there was also stable confidence, as the sprinter seemed to have come right again after failing to score in six starts following his five wins in a row.
Trainer Alwin Tan found that his rising star had a stone bruise injury and had it treated and Nova Swiss put his hand up again by winning his trial in emphatic manner last week.
Last night, jockey Manoel Nunes parked the $13 favourite behind speed demon Sebas and started to cruise away from the 200m mark to win by two-and-a-half lengths.
In the process, Nova Swiss shattered Northern Lion's time of 57.76sec for the Poly 1,000m set in 2011.
"I think he's back as I expected and I think the trial helped him," said Tan.
"The record came as a surprise, I didn't expect that, but I see that the track is quite firm."
Nunes paid tribute to Tan and his boys for correcting Nova Swiss back to his goodself.
"Last week, his trial was 'whooh' and I came back with full of smiles. I know him very well. I know, if you can make him right, he will give you. He's a lovely horse," said Nunes.
HANAFI SCORES FIRST WINNER WITH HAYTHAM
Last night also saw new apprentice N Hanafi scoring his first winner from his third Kranji ride, his master Mark Walker-trained Haytham.
He disputed the lead with Mastermind before going on to win the Open Benchmark 52 event over 1,000m in Race 4.
"I feel really good, feel very relieved and tonight is my lucky night," said the New Zealand-trained rookie, who was unplaced in his debut on Obstacle Free on Oct 7 and then finished a short head second on Jacks Secret last Sunday.