Yaya Papaya upsets to pay $125
Leslie Khoo's winner the most experienced in Magic Millions National Yearling Sale Stakes
Experience, said veteran actor David McCallum's alter ego Dr Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the long-running crime series NCIS, is the best teacher.
It surely was the case in yesterday's $90,000 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale Stakes, the third of six legs in the Singapore Golden Horseshoe Series for two-year-olds.
YAYA PAPAYA, Singlish for proud or arrogant, might not have finished in the money in three starts - the most among the field of 11 - but his race experience saw him turn into a giant killer with a powerful run to spring a $125 surprise.
His opposition included first and second-leg winners Charger and Whistling Win respectively. Charger finished sixth in the second leg. The other raced candidate was Berlinetta, who ran unplaced first-up. The rest of yesterday's field comprised newcomers.
Whistling Win and Charger vied for favouritism before Whistling Win went off as the $17 favourite. Charger eased to $24, while newcomer Nova Storm came in for strong last-minute betting to start second-favourite at $18.
Unlike his two trials, the Alwin Tan-trained Nova Storm jumped quickly and rushed up to split newcomer Mokastar on his inside and Whistling Win on his outside on settling down in the 1,100m sprint on the Polytrack.
Jockey Manoel Nunes soon pressed ahead and took Nova Storm to a length lead from Whistling Win. Mokastar was another length away on the rails, with Yaya Papaya circling up under jockey Glen Boss. Charger was next with Confide.
Nova Storm straightened up handily from Whistling Win. Mokastar made his bid on the inside. Yaya Papaya continued to improve. Charger was trapped on the inside.
Mokastar overtook Nova Storm in the final 200m. Whistling Win blew out. On the outside, Yaya Papaya kept closing in and raced past Mokastar with 50m left to win by a neck.
Nova Storm's stablemate and newcomer Lucky Master came from the clouds to finish third, half a length behind.
Trainer Leslie Khoo was a little surprised with Yaya Papaya's victory but felt that his charge would run a good race on his recent good efforts, especially with blinkers.
"Actually I was quite surprised also, but I knew he was going to run a good race today because the last few runs he ran good races," said the former top local jockey.
"In fact, I entered him today to get him qualified for the big one later. I think this horse has got a lot of potential."
The big one Khoo was referring to is the series' final leg, the $325,000 Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe over 1,200m on July 7.
Khoo also reckoned the addition of blinkers had improved the horse.
"He prefers blinkers, that's why the last run I put the blinkers. He ran well in his blinkers' test and his last run with the gear was good," said Khoo.
Boss reckoned the three races that Yaya Papaya had and the clear outside run helped his mount's cause.
"Obviously, he was the most experienced horse in the race. But, the other day, he was stuck on the inside and he was very plain, you know," said the three-time Melbourne Cup-winning rider.
"I had the feeling that, if I could have got him to the outside that other day, maybe he could have done something better. I don't know, but he was very plain, got beaten sort of four or five lengths.
"Today, he travelled out three wide on the back of the speed, had cover, and I think he enjoyed that bit of freedom, you know."
Khoo also took the next race with KUBERA'S CHIEF, who gave in-form jockey Alan Munro the third leg of his four-bagger.
The Epsom Derby-winning English rider also won on HUMDINGER (Race 1), SECRET SQUIRREL (Race 2) and WONDERFUL ERA (Race 7).
The four winners saw Munro match Vlad Duric on 32 winners in the jockey's premiership table.