Speedster Emerald Hill provided Saifudin Ismail with the perfect birthday present when successful in the $65,000 Graduation Stakes over 1000m on the Polytrack on Friday night.
Jumping straight to the front, Emerald Hill led throughout in scoring by five-and-a-half lengths over Californian Girl (Soo Khoon Beng) with Speedy Ahead (Stephen Baster) a length-and-a-quarter away third.
There were some anxious moments prior to the race for connections when Emerald Hill, which was the $8 favourite, broke through the front of the gates after being loaded.
Two from two for exciting prospect Emerald Hill (Saifudin Ismail), picture Singapore Turf Club
Saifudin quickly had Emerald Hill under control but the gelding did prove a bit of a handful when re-entering the barriers a second time.
While concerned that the antics may have affected Emerald Hill, Saifudin had those fears quickly erased when the gelding jumped quickly and had crossed to take up the running.
Saifudin had a good hold on the US-bred three-year-old as he cruised along at the head of affairs over Californian Girl and Soul Commander (Tan Wei Li).
Turning for home Saifudin slipped Emerald Hill a little more rein and the gelding quickly opened up a winning break before being allowed to cruise home under a tight hold.
“He’s one of the fastest horses that I’ve ridden for a long time,” said Saifudin.
“He’s a horse that travels so well and a horse that you just let him do it all by himself.
“He travelled so well and I just let the rail guide him. It was then just a matter of keeping him balanced until the straight and then asking him to go.
“I was a little concerned when he was a bit fractious in the barriers and when we got back behind the barrier I was a little worried about him going back in.
“But when he jumped so well I then didn’t have a concern at all as he travelled so well and kept running all the way.”
Trainer John O’Hara has no ambitious plans for Emerald Hill but said he was keen to try the gelding over a little more ground.
“I want to see if he can get 1200m so I might look for a race on the turf for him,” said O’Hara.
“I don’t have any big plans for him just yet. We’ll just take the races as they come along, just let him run through the grades and see where he gets to.”
After being beaten 35 lengths on his debut in the US, Emerald Hill is unbeaten in his two starts in Singapore.
By Sharp Humour from the Glitterman mare You Glitter Girl, Emerald Hill has collected around $50,000 in prizemoney for Saratoga Stable with his two victories.