Leading trainer Lee Freedman tried his hand at some French banter with jockey Olivier Placais after Little Big Man scored for the third time for the French rider on Sunday - not quite to the same winning effect as his horse, but good enough for a hearty laugh.
The Australian trainer did study French as an elective in school, but though he said it was now rusty, he does try to exchange some Gallic pleasantries with Placais when he can, not always to much comprehension between the two parties.
That latest winning combo between Placais and the horse that has been his winningest horse after Curvature (four wins) this year, tied with Mr Clint, was another good opportunity to bring out his French flair.
Little Big Man (Olivier Placais) races past Captain Jamie (Nooresh Juglall) to take out Race 8, picture Singapore Turf Club
“Those two have had three wins in five starts together. Monsieur Olivier sure knows how to do his magique on Little Big Man, ooh la la!” said Freedman as he put on his best Allo Allo accent.
“Seriously, it’s not easy to do. This horse was struggling in Class 4 and now he’s won in Class 3.
“Olivier had him in the right spot on the fence. I don’t think they would have won on the Short Course, though.
“They looked like they were left with too much to do, but I got excited when he suddenly came within a length of the leader. Then The Conductor (Placais’ nickname due to his high-handed whip action) did the rest.”
Placais agreed with Freedman on his post-race analysis, all the more when $18 favourite and surprising leader Captain Jamie (Nooresh Juglall) looked to have the race all stitched up as he cleared out to a commanding break halfway up the straight.
But Placais slowly got the Showcasing six-year-old warming up to the task, peeling him off for his run at the right moment. With only Captain Jamie in their sights, the margin was inexorably cut back, with no doubt whatsoever which way the race was swinging 75m out as he collared the weakening Captain Jamie.
Little Big Man - who has incidentally posted all his wins under Placais in identical fashion - went on to score by one length from Southern Dragon (Wong Chin Chuen) who pipped Captain Jamie late for second place by a short head.
Much-hyped debutant and joint-favourite Mate Story (Michael Rodd) enjoyed an ideal run in transit tracking up Captain Jamie, but folded in the straight to finish down the field.
“It’s been a very bad day. I nearly fell three times, (poleaxed aboard Whizzy Waltzzy at the 1100m, and twice with Verizon, crowded at the 1000m and cannoned off close home) but luckily, Little Big Man saved my day,” said Placais who consolidates his third place on 41 wins, six behind current leader Vlad Duric.
“I was a bit worried at the top of the straight. We were many lengths off the leader.
“I didn’t want to force him to the outside too early, though. I waited for him to hit his top gear before I switched him out and he then finished very strongly.”
Little Big Man has now taken his record to five wins and eight placings from 31 starts for prizemoney edging close to the quarter million mark for the Falcon Racing No 2 Stable.