The jury was still out, but Michael Clements’ gun sprinter Tannhauser showed he was just as lethal on turf as he is on Polytrack with a superlative performance in the $100,000 Class 2 race over 1200m on Sunday.
The Tavistock four-year-old raced only once on grass, and that was at his debut back in November 2016 when he was probably not ready yet. He ran fifth.
His subsequent five starts have all been on the all-weather, when he reeled off four wins in a row before he came unstuck at his last assignment in a Kranji Stakes B race over 1000m three weeks ago.
Exciting prospect Tannhauser (Vlad Duric) returns an impressive winner in the Class 2 race on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club
It later transpired Tannhauser returned as a roarer but to Clements, the main conviction was the distance.
The Zimbabwean-born handler, whose recently-grown hair is now long enough to be tied into a manbun, was vindicated in no small measure when the Jubilant Racing Stable-owned gelding sprang back to winning form when stepped up to 1200m on Sunday afternoon.
Granted, the low draw (3) and the ideal trip in transit behind race-leader Darc Bounty (Glen Boss) made his task easier, but Tannhauser (Vlad Duric) still had to lift when the pressure came pouring on upon straightening.
Darc Bounty was still going great guns at the 300m with Dream Comes True (Saifudin Ismail) still on his outside and proving to be a bit of a thorn in the side of the $15 favourite.
But the moment Dream Comes True fell away, that much-awaited split materialised, with Duric needing no second invitation to peel his mount off the back of Darc Bounty. Once in the clear, there was only one way the race was going to conclude.
Going swiftly through his gears, Tannhauser sprinted clear to score by 1 ¼ lengths from Darc Bounty with Flak Jacket (Matthew Kellady) bursting late to grab third place another short head away. The winning time was a new class record of 1min 8.77secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.
“He actually ran good at his last start. It was just too sharp for him,” said Clements, obviously still slightly puzzled little merit was given to that grinding fourth to Al Green.
“We always wanted a six-furlong race for him, but there were no other races for him. Today, he box-seated nicely and Vlad gave him a great race, and he is going really well.”
Clements has now set his sights on the Group 3 JBBA Rocket Man Sprint (1200m) on April 1, the first Leg of the Singapore Sprint Series for the up-and-coming sprinting force.
“We’re looking at the Rocket Man Sprint for him, but he needs to run at least two times over turf,” he said.
“The Sprint Series will be his main goal.”
Duric admitted to being a little concerned when they were landlocked in the box seat, but was relieved things worked out well in the end.
“He’s got an extravagant action and I thought we just needed a bit of luck in the box-seat today,” said the 2017 Singapore champion jockey who was at a riding double after saluting earlier aboard Kashan.
“But a run appeared at the right time, and the horse did the rest. He’s a very exciting horse and has a very good engine.
“He is progressing the right way but he will be in for some hot competition going up better horses soon, but he deserves to have a crack.”
With that fifth win, Tannhauser has now amassed prizemoney in excess of $220,000 for his connections.