Zip A Dee Doo Dah from last to first
Hot Rodd lives up to his nickname on $161 long shot
Australian jockey Michael Rodd is in such white-hot form that he could win on the proverbial broomstick these days.
Rodd is no Harry Potter - though some may argue he is riding like a wizard - and handy stayer ZIP A DEE DOO DAH certainly does not look like a wooden pole with brushes on one end. But for his comeback after six months over 1,200m, most had swept the gelding aside in their calculations.
Not Rodd, who brought his mount from last to first with a spectacular finish that cleaned up his rivals in a way that was more reminiscent of a Hoover.
The Cecconi five-year-old was one of the up-and-coming four-year-olds at his first prep last year, with even the Derby tag bandied around after three super wins.
But, after his form dipped, the Emirates Singapore Derby plans were scrapped much to the dismay of his connections, even if his eighth place to Well Done in the Group 1 Patron's Bowl over 1,800m, only around five lengths astern, was not a bad effort.
Trainer Leslie Khoo then decided to give Zip A Dee Doo Dah a well-deserved break and picked that last race on Sunday, the $60,000 Open Benchmark 67 race over 1,200m as the perfect race to relaunch Zip A Dee Doo Dah's career, with Rodd as his first-time partner.
As expected, Zip A Dee Doo Dah could not match strides with the fliers in the early stages of the sprint race, settling at the bottom half of the well-strung out field which had been somewhat split into two divisions.
As Longhu (John Powell) carted up the field into the home straight, Zip A Dee Doo Dah was still travelling like a $161 shot at the opposite end, lagging behind, top to bottom easily around 15 lengths.
But then, Zip began to zig and zag with an astonishing burst of speed which was never quite his signature at his previous three wins between 1,600m and 2,000m when he would account for his rivals with a more typically stayer-like searching run.
ONE RIVAL AFTER ANOTHER
From the abyss, suddenly, Rodd had the winning post in his sights as his mount gobbled up one rival after another, even noticeably bumping with Conilad (Glen Boss) at the 100m mark as he whirled by in a hurry.
But that barely slowed him down as he kept on to finish over the top of the battling trio of Elusive Emperor (Barend Vorster), Optimus (Vlad Duric) and Eatons Gold to go and score a soft win by half-a-length from Elusive Emperor.
The winning time was 1min 10.43sec for the 1,200m on the Short Course.
Though Rodd had to show great navigating skills to steer Zip A Dee Doo Dah home, he jumped off saying he was just the passenger.
"He's got class, this horse. Good horses do that when they are fresh up," he said.
"He was fresh today, even if he was up 20kg (body weight), but if you looked at him at the parade ring, it was all good muscle and not fat.
"They went very fast and that suited him as well. When they all started to come back to him, all I had to do was just point him in the right direction.
"I copped a bit of bump with Bossy's horse, but my horse laid in and his was coming out, so that's why it looked worse than it actually was."
Owner Joe Singh, who has struck a purple patch, especially with last Friday's winner Countofmontecristo making it two from two this year, was rapt with the way his top galloper had bounced back to the winner's circle, even if it caught many by surprise.
While he praised Khoo for bringing his horse back to fitness, he credited the win to Rodd on the day.
"Hot Rodd is just flying. When you book such jockeys, this is what happens, your horses win races," he said enthusiastically.
"Michael rode an amazing race on Zippy. He is all class."
With that fourth win, Zip A Dee Doo Dah has taken his stakes earnings past the $160,000 mark for Singh.