Wimbledon outsprints 'em in sizzling time
Singapore race round-up
It was the best race in the card of nine at Kranji last night and it lived up to be one sizzler.
Last week's impressive trial winner WIMBLEDON not only outran a field of top-notch sprinters in the $125,000 Kranji Stakes A event over 1,200m on the Long Course A, he also came close to shattering the course record.
His time of 1min 08.85sec was just 0.7sec outside Spalato's record set in 2014.
It was his seventh success in 29 starts and he has brought his earnings to about $620,000.
There was a clear track bias last night, favouring front-runners and those on the forward line, and Wimbledon certainly benefited from a go-to-whoa ride from jockey Vlad Duric.
Wimbledon took the lead on settling down and was a length clear of Faaltless at the halfway mark. Right behind were Super Winner and $21 second favourite Lincoln Road, who was expected to lead but did not.
The $36 chance was nicely clear in the straight. Lincoln Road moved up to narrow the gap but his run ended sooner than expected. Super Winner laboured under the top impost of 59.5kg on his inside.
It was left to last-minute $14 favourite Nova Strike to loom as the threat, overcoming a tardy start to fly home at a rate of knots but Wimbledon held on gallantly to win by half a length.
Nova Strike's defeat was another hard-luck story for three-time champion jockey Manoel Nunes, who was on his first day back to riding this year, as it was his fourth runner-up spot in his first five rides.
Wimbledon's trainer, James Peters, was as stunned as anyone with the sizzling time.
"Well, not quite expecting that time," said the Englishman. "He looked terrific in the mounting yard. I was really pleased wth him.
"He was really moving really well leading up to this race. He was really free within himself and I was really pleased with his trial last week. He did really well tonight, as they ran along 24.03sec, I think, for the first sectional.
"To stick it out on the long course was a really good effort."
What's next for Wimbledon?
"I'll have to look at the programme, maybe give him one more run in a similar Kranji Stakes A before the Merlion," said Peters, who also won with BRISTOL DIAMOND in Race 4 and BRAHMA CIRCUS in Race 8.
The $350,000 Group 2 Merlion Trophy over 1,200m on the Polytrack is on March 5.
Duric said Wimbledon went a little bit fresh on him and he had a hard time holding the lead.
"He can hang in a little bit. I just felt on the corner, round the 600m, he just wanted to shift off the fence a little bit but he gave me a really good kick coming through the deep. He's just a genuine horse," added the Australian.