The son of Citidancer was only a lukewarm fancy at $73 for a win despite his eye-catching run to favourite Prince De Lago at their last clash. But the additional 200m over a soft track coupled with a bold ride by Japanese jockey Kanichiro Fujii made all the difference on Friday.
Trigger Express, who had registered all his four wins on rain-affected tracks, travelled three wide in seventh or eighth position from the word go. The crawling pace set by sprinter-miler Lim’s Passion (Ronnie Stewart) was certainly helping backmarkers like Trigger Express stay in touch.
Swinging for home, Lim’s Passion’s stamina was quickly put to the test as the swoopers came to the fore on his outside. Setembro Chove (Barend Vorster) was being hailed the winner as he took the lead, leaving no doubt that one run from spell under the belt had done wonders to his fitness level.
But Fujii had also timed his run to perfection and with 50m to go, he put away the whip to ride Trigger Express hands and heels to the post. Only a neck separated him from Setembro Chove but the night belonged to Burridge who had already won the Group 3 Three Rings Trophy with World Delight, and especially Fujii who had won his first Group race in five years of riding.
'This is an amazing feeling. I’ve won lots of city and Listed races in Australia but never a Group win,' said the Australia-trained rider.
'I just let the horse run to his usual pattern, that is to ride him quiet,' said Fujii.
'I knew I had a strong horse underneath as he turned for home, and he kept on fighting to just put his nose down where it mattered.'
Fujii who is on a six-month visiting jockey’s licence has now won five races and admitted things could have been better.
'I’m a little disappointed I haven’t won as many races as I wished. But that’s the way it is when you ride mainly for one stable and the competition here is very tough,' he said.
'But this Group win certainly makes up for it. I would like to thank Mr Burridge and the owners for giving me that ride.'
'I thought he could beat Prince De Lago last start but he finished second and I thought maybe he needed to be on top of the ground,' Burridge commented.
'Joe (Fujii) rode him well though and kept him balanced and I’m really happy with the way he has run.
'I’m also very happy for Joe as he’s been riding a bit of work for me and he deserves this Group win.'
Burridge confirmed that Trigger Express would step up even further next start.
'He’ll run in the QE II cup and if he can get a run he’ll be in the SIA Cup in May.'
Trainer Patrick Shaw was not disappointed in the second placement of Setembro Chove.
'That was a super run I’m very happy with that.
'He’ll run in the QE II Cup and he’ll be spot on for the big one.'
'The ‘big one’ Shaw was talking about was of course the $3 Million International Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup, to be run on May 20, 2007.
Another of the locals nominated for the SIA Cup is Danny Murphy’s Terfel, who put in a good effort only to run out of room on the fence when in the middle of his final move, finishing 8th, five and a half lengths from the winner.
'That was OK, I’m not unhappy with the run, he’s done well and we’ll see how he continues to go over the next few weeks.'
Callow was at a loss to explain the favourite’s ordinary effort other than the difference in racing circumstances.
'He jumped eight from eight last time when he won whereas today from barrier 1 I gave him some reins and he rolled forward to run up with the pace,' said Callow.
'Maybe he should be ridden cold. He just wasn’t good enough today but we learn.'