Smart galloper El Padrino put behind a disappointing end to a Dubai campaign which had got off to a flier when he bounced back to the winner’s circle in impressive fashion on Friday night.
Formerly known as Ip Man, the four-year-old by Mr Nancho was one of three individual winners saddled by trainer Steven Burridge (other two being Dark Matter and Captain Obvious) in the United Arab Emirates last January. Already a two-time winner in Kranji, El Padrino, which translates as “The Godfather” in Spanish, however ran out of the placings at his last two starts in Dubai, leaving many questions his connections may have had about the dip in form unanswered.
After a well-deserved break and a change of name, El Padrino resumed his career on July 17, and the old swagger was certainly back as he ran a cracking second to Cash Dot Com in a 1200m race on Polytrack.
Oscar Chavez guides El Padrino to victory on Friday night
Starting as the odds-on favourite ($8) in the $75,000 Class 3 race over 1200m on Polytrack on Friday, El Padrino took full advantage of his good gate in barrier No 2 by holding the rails run throughout before asserting his superiority in the home straight.
As Hard Stuff (Saimee Jumaat) and Makkura (Greg Cheyne) fell away, El Padrino kicked clear for a two-length break. Al’s Knight (Stephen Baster) stormed home but had left it too late as he fell short by 1 ¼ lengths. The winning time was 1min 11.6secs.
“He’s done a good job,” said Burridge. “He won in Dubai but did not go so well in his last couple of races, which was a bit disappointing.
“We gave him a break and he’s come back good. He’s a day-to-day proposition as he hasn’t got the best of joints.
“I don’t have anything planned for him at this stage. It’s just nice to see him back a winner as he’s such a good horse.”
Chavez, who has ridden the Law Teck Hin-owned gelding at all his nine starts, including the time when he was prepared by trainer David Kok, was grinning from ear to ear upon dismounting.
“He’s back to his best. He’s 100% back to himself now,” said Chavez who has been associated with the horse from Day 1, even in coming up with his first name Ip Man.
“He can be very unpredictable. At times, he jumps well and at times he doesn’t jump on terms.
“Today, from his good gate, he jumped well and there was no other choice but to race him up on the rails.
“He was on the bit from the 600m and that’s when I knew he would be hard to beat.”
El Padrino, who cost NZ$56,000 as a two-year-old, has now accumulated prizemoney in excess of $220,000 for his connections.