Crouching Sun shines first-up for birthday boy Freedman

There were cheers of a few sorts that greeted Crouching Sun’s victory in the $20,000 Debt Collector 2016 Stakes, a Maiden race over 1200m on Sunday.

First off, it was the perfect present to celebrate trainer Lee Freedman’s 62nd birthday. The Australian Hall of Fame handler was spending his first special day in Singapore after relocating from Melbourne last September.

“I never thought I’d make it to my 40th,” said the five-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer with his usual sense of humour. 

Crouching Sun (Daniel Moor) strides away from the pack to win on debut in Singapore, picture Singapore Turf Club

Freedman was not referring to his Singapore win-tally, which was indeed hitting the 40-win mark as he cements his top spot on the Singapore trainer’s premiership, two clear of Shane Baertschiger. Even if there are still three and a half months to go before the season ends, the five-time Melbourne champion trainer is one of the early favourites in the title race.

The other cause for rejoicing is the flying start with a new business partner. Crouching Sun was indeed keeping Freedman’s recent association with Hong Kong tycoon Cheng Ting Kong at a 100% success rate. Their first runner, Sun Ares, sealed their first win at Kranji on August 3.

“It’s a very nice start with Mr Cheng. He has given me three nice geldings with good pedigree to train - and two have won already,” he said of his auspicious beginnings with the big owner in Macau and Australia.

“This one is a lovely horse who was with David Hayes (and Tom Dabernig). I think Dave gave him just the one run.

“He trialled well but his run was ordinary. Maybe he went shinsore.

“He actually surprised me today. I thought he would be quiet, but he pinged out and was in the first three.

“He won a nice race in the end.”

Ridden by Daniel Moor, the Street Cry four-year-old enjoyed a cosy run in third place behind Elena Of Avalor (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) and Golden States (Barend Vorster).

Homeward-bound, the latter came serving it to Elena Of Avalor who caved in more quickly than expected. Golden States himself did not stay in front very long when he was in turn challenged by Crouching Sun ($32), who breezed past on his way towards a facile three-length win.

Accumulation (Vlad Duric) ran on late to grab second place from Golden States by half-a-length. The winning time was 1min 12.85secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.

Not to be outdone, Moor also had reasons to be in a celebratory mood. After a relatively slow start, the Victorian jockey is hitting his straps.

With a first riding double notched up with Zulu Warrior and Lucky Hada on Friday, he is enjoying his best weekend since commencing his six-month contract in May.

Crouching Sun was taking Moor’s overall score to 11 wins, and more pointedly, was bringing up his fifth win for the month of August, almost doubling his haul of only six winners up until then.

“It’s been a good weekend. I’m very appreciative of the Club for giving me a ticket,” he said.

“This horse was in a beautiful position in the running. There was no great depth to the race, but the way he went to the line suggests he will go through his grades here.

“It’s great for the owner as he puts a lot of money in races.”