Vulcan leads from go to whoa to win
John Powell rides a masterful race on the Shane Baertschiger-trained three-year-old
Adapt to the situation. Nothing is cast in stone. If the situation calls for it, even the best-laid plans can be changed.
There no shame in it. Like in the case of Vulcan, who won Sunday's Race 2 at Kranji.
The plan worked out by trainer Shane Baertschiger and jockey John Powell was to get Vulcan into a handy position in that 1,200m race and to make a move - preferably in the home stretch.
Well, that was the plan. But, as every good jockey knows, when the gates fly open, he must assess the situation and work from there.
In Powell, there is none better.
So it was when he discovered that none of the other 12 runners seemed keen to lead, Powell formed a plan of his own and put it into operation.
And since no-one told Vulcan that the agreement between trainer and jockey was to sit and attack, the son of Per Incanto went along with "the plan" - and, as we were to find out, he relished the idea of leading from go to whoa.
Drawn the rails in that sprint on turf, Vulcan got away well and, in no time at all, the others were getting hit by the clumps of earth being thrown back by the leader.
Glenafton (WH Kok) and Back To Life (A'Isisuhairi Kasim) tried to keep in contact - but from a respectable distance. So did the others, including second pick, Hugo.
Into the home straight and Vulcan streaked clear to a two-length break, with the others coming at him.
The rhythm looked good but the legs suddenly seemed to get heavy.
Fifty metres out, Lucky Trio (CC Wong) came flying home on the outside, but could only cut back the margin to 3/4 lengths.
Vulcan, beaten into second place on debut, had got the victory he so desired - though not according to plan.
"That's not the way to ride him. He's better off sitting in third or fourth, he gets lost in front," said Baertschiger.
"But there was no speed and JP had no other option but to lead. He's a much better horse if he can take a seat."
Powell agreed with Baertschiger that that was the plan.
"The instructions were to sit in four or five, but they did not go quick. I then just let him slide to the front," said the Australian jockey.
"With the soft lead, I thought he would have a kick left in him, but he was walking in the last 50. We'll take a seat with him next and, hopefully, he'll go better.
"There is a certain pigginess about him, though. We still have to work through that."
A NZ$50,000 (S$45,300) purchase as a two-year-old, Vulcan has already recouped that investment with net returns in excess of $50,000 for the MA Racing Stable, thanks to Sunday's win and his debut second in a Restricted Maiden race over 1,200m on May 17.