Singaporean trainer Alvin Tan was a relieved man after he was able to come up with the right winning formula for Daring Splendour on Friday night.
The grey gelding by Bertolini had raced eight times under his care since he moved from trainer Basil Marcus midway through 2011, without success but his recent runs did suggest a first win with Tan as trainer was not too far off.
Tan had reasoned that the five-year-old’s tendency to give up inside the concluding stages might be due to the blinkers he had been wearing at his last 22 starts. The decision to remove them paid instant dividends, but not without a forceful ride by Brazilian jockey Ivaldo Santana.
Daring Splendour (Ivaldo Santana) on the inside fends off the late challenge from Lucky Rise
After being one of the best away from his barrier No 3 in the $55,000 Class 4 race over 1700m on Polytrack, Daring Splendour ($21) allowed Knight Scorpio (Koh Teck Huat) to take the lead ahead of $17 favourite El Perigo (Danny Beasley) while he eased out into the box seat in third spot.
The pace remained steady to the 500m when El Perigo was clicked up by Beasley in a bid to pinch the race early, but Santana was not losing sight of the proceedings as he also called upon his mount at the top of the straight.
In his trademark style, Daring Splendour knuckled down to the task as he took half a length over El Perigo, but the immediate danger was actually hailing from Lucky Rise (Richard Lim) who was flashing home on the outside.
But Daring Splendour did not shirk from his job this time and got home by half of a length from Lucky Rise with El Perigo holding on for third by another half-a-length. The winning time was 1min 47.71secs.
“I removed the blinkers to help him in the last 100m. He always thinks he’s won the race at this mark,” said Tan.
“Without the blinkers, I think he was able to see where he was. The jockey also did a good job.
“The only downside to taking off the blinkers was he was still playing up in the barriers. He’s had to pass so many tests already.”
Santana, whose English has improved since he began his Kranji stint last January, said the instructions were to lead if possible, but not to insist if there were speedier customers.
“The trainer told me to lead but if they go faster, to just follow behind,” said Santana who was notching his 26th success at Kranji.
“I was happy to sit behind and in the home straight, when I pushed him, he kept going.”
Daring Splendour is the second former John Meagher-trained galloper to score on Friday after Danger Money in Race 1. Raced by Sunny Lim of Lucky Rich Stable, Daring Splendour scored his three previous wins – all over the same 1700m trip on Polytrack – for Meagher before being transferred to Marcus.
Stakes money earned by the grey gelding have now crept up close to the $180,000 mark.