A record of nine wins from 29 starts would have done any connections proud, but trainer Steven Burridge was first and foremost in sheer awe at how an injury-plagued horse like Black Ice could even run.
Right from Day 1, the Mugharreb six-year-old has been beset by sesamoid problems which were further compounded after his last run on January 20 when he pulled up lame.
But nursed with a great dose of patience by Burridge’s staff, Black Ice was somehow restored to full fitness for Sunday’s $125,000 Kranji Stakes A race over 1600m where he was pitted against a handy field made up of the likes of Flying Fulton, Always Certain and Deep Pockets.
Black Ice gives trainer/combination of Steven Burridge and Alan Munro a double on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club
Settled in fifth one-off the fence by first-time partner Alan Munro, Black Ice ($40) only started to pick up ground from the half-mile. Once he saw daylight at the top of the straight, the black gelding stretched out smartly under Munro’s persuader to go and score by 1 ¾ lengths from favourite Deep Pockets (Joao Moreira), who wound up late from last, while race-leader Trudeau (Barend Vorster) held on gamely for third another half-a-length away.
The winning time was 1min 36.02secs for the 1600m on the Long Course.
“I tell ya mate, that horse should have been a dead-set cripple after his last race. He pulled up so lame that I didn’t think he would race again,” said Burridge.
“He’s had leg problems from the outset, and his sesamoid was really hit bad this time, but all credit should go to (assistant-trainer) Jakki (Harrison) who has done a great job massaging him.
“How he has come back and raced, I don’t know. He’s just a freak, but he’s got such a big heart and an amazing will to win.
“His trackwork had been average coming into today’s race, but Alan gave him such a great ride, and he’s won a nice race.”
Munro, who had earlier combined with Burridge for another win with Darien Gap, said Black Ice gave him a lovely ride throughout and was just unbeatable on the day.
“It was my first time on him. He just took off and was attacking the line so well that nothing could beat him once he got going,” said the Englishman.
“He’s got a really strong action. Let’s hope he holds up as he’s got lots of ability.”
Burridge said that despite the resounding victory, it would be too ambitous to map out any plans in advance as Black Ice was a horse who needed to be wrapped up in cotton wool.
“He’s a day-to-day proposition. I’ll just look around for a suitable race for him, but there are no big plans for him at this stage,” said Burridge.
“He could have been a top Class 1 galloper if he could be trained properly. For now, he’s heading back to the stables where he will be packed with… more ice.”