Powell earns praise for top ride on Aramco

Trainer Shane Baertschiger was one of the first to laud his jockey John Powell’s gem of a ride aboard Aramco on Friday night.

The resuming son of Magic Albert having stacks of ability was a given as can be surmised from his record of three wins and three placings from eight starts, especially at his last two runs, ironically in defeat when he ran a gallant fourth and third respectively in the Group 3 Rocket Man Sprint (1200m) and the Group 3 Garden City Trophy (1200m) at his last start on June 8.

But when the Shane Baertschiger-trained sprinter was handed the worst draw in 11 on Friday, it just put a dent in the camp’s confidence.

Aramco (John Powell) returns to winning ways in the Open Benchmark 83 race., picture Singapore Turf Club

Powell included, but after a nifty manoeuvre in the first 300m combined with a good dose of luck, the next thing he knew he found himself scraping paint on the rails!

Upfront Eclipse Splash (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) and Lim’s Shot (Manoel Nunes) were in the early prominent roles. Upon straightening, they gave the impression they would fight out the finish, but their riders’ urgent calls were not drawing the expected answers at the 300m.

Along came Dinghu Mountain (Matthew Kellady) with his own stab at glory, but it was his better-fancied stablemate ($22) Aramco who suddenly found acres of space as the Red Sea parted along the rails.

Powell needed no second invitation as he launched his mount through. The resulting scenario inside the last 200m was an explosive acceleration that saw Aramco propelled to the front in no time.

From the rear, the David Hill-trained Clarton Super (Azhar Ismail) flashed home late but it was too little too late as he settled for second best half-a-length away with Eclipse Splash third another 1 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 22.13secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.

“That was one of JP’s best rides. 11 out of 11 and he never went around a horse after that,” said Baertschiger.

“There was no other race for this horse. The weight and the draw were a concern, but when I saw him make ground along the fence, my confidence grew.

“He’s got a good pedigree and is an outstanding individual.”

A modest Powell played down his part in charting his way from the outermost alley towards the coveted rails-hugging spot.

“I had a lovely run at the start and I was just lucky to find myself on the rails with Benny (Woodworth) on my outside and Barend (Vorster) on my inside,” said the heavyweight Australian jockey.

“When Benny moved out, Barend also rolled off and everything just worked out well. The horse was not ready tonight as he was still pretty fat, but he’s a nice horse and will improve from tonight’s run.”

With that fourth win from nine starts, Aramco has now pushed his earnings past the $220,000 mark for the Aramco Stable.