All the stars were aligned for Mr Exchequer to win on Friday night and he sure did not let his connections down by turning up with a brilliant win in the $80,000 HJM Asia Cup, a Class 3 race over 1600m.
The Savabeel four-year-old showed the respiratory distress issue he returned with at his second-last run in November was behind him when he rattled home for third in a 1400m race on January 14.
Next time out, carrying only 53.5kgs and jumping from barrier No 1 were two factors which had trainer Shane Baertschiger quietly confident the $37 chance could upstage his rivals who included the likes of The Capital (favourite), Super Power and Lim’s Regard.
Well ridden by Matthew Kellady, Mr Exchequer enjoyed an economical run on the paint throughout. Kellady only popped him off the fence just before the home turn when he saw race-leader Lim’s Regard (Glen Boss) had upped the tempo and might give them the slip.
Once Mr Exchequer was on his right lead, he started to wear Lim’s Regard down with every stride. At the 100m mark, he was on level terms and it was his superior stamina that saw him eventually get the edge by half-a-length.
Casing Royal (Saifudin Ismail) momentarily loomed large and was even being hailed as a possible party pooper, but he peaked on his run to settle for third place another 2 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 35.41secs for the 1600m on the Short Course.
“He ran a bad race two starts back but that was because he returned with a respiratory distress,” said Baertschiger.
“Luckily that internal bleeding was just a one-off because he then ran well at his next start in a 1400m race.
“Tonight, he had a lot going for him. He’s a Savabeel, the mile was better for him, he was drawn one and he had no weight on his back.
“Matty rode him a treat, got him off the fence at the right time, and he was just too good in the end.”
Mr Exchequer has now taken his record to three wins and four placings in 14 starts for stakes earnings in excess of $150,000 for the MA Racing Stable.