A lot of hard work and patience was rewarded when Tough Ruler scored in the $55,000 Class 4 Div. 1 Stakes over 1200m on the Polytrack on Sunday.
Ridden by Barend Vorster, Tough Ruler got up in the last few strides to score by a head over Hooper (Ivaldo Santana) with Shining Glory (Stephen Baster) a length-and-a-quarter back in third place.
Trainer Patrick Shaw said Tough Ruler had caused the stable a lot of problems with his barrier antics that have finally been sorted out.
Tough Ruler (Barend Vorster) on the outside just naps Hooper (Ivaldo Santana) right on the line, picture Singapore Turf Club
Two starts back the US-bred gelding missed the start hopelessly when at the tail of the field on June 15 then struck interference at his last start when third behind Royal Coffee on July 20.
Shaw praised his staff, especially assistant trainer Ricardo Le Grange, for the work put into changing Tough Ruler habits.
“He’s got a few head problems that we are slowing getting on top of,” said Shaw.
“Ricky and the team have put in a lot of work into the horse to get him over his barrier problems.
“It was a good tough win by him today. He was wide all the way and I liked the way he found the line.
“That win to me suggests he’s going to get further.
“There’s a semi-feature race for three-year-olds at the end of September over 1400m that should be ideal for him.”
That race is the $200,000 Jubilee Stakes on September 30 which Michael Freedman has also earmarked Friday night’s winner Super Junior for.
Vorster said Tough Ruler was deserving of his win after enduring a tough run through the race.
“Things had been going against him but he turned it all around today,” said Vorstrer.
“He’s behaving a lot better now and that showed with how he put it together out there today.
“Things went a bit better for him today even though he did race a bit wide.
“To me he’s going to be a 1400m or 1600m horse but first we have to get him into the right racing pattern which we are slowly starting to do.”
A three-year-old by Roman Ruler from the Polka mare Dancapade, Tough Ruler has now had five starts in Singapore for two wins and a third and returned Saratoga Stable around $70,000 in prizemoney.
The Shaw and Vorster combination were back in the winner's enclosure two races later when Takis took out the $55,000 Class 4 Div. 2 Stakes over 1600m.
With a determined finish, Takis got up to score a short-head win over Solitaire (Jacky Low) with Warspirit (Joao Moreira) three-quarters-of-a-length away third.
Vorster described Takis as a good "bread and butter" horse after landing his second win from 15 starts.
"He had knee surgery a while ago and Pat's team have done a really good job to get him back," said Vorster.
"It was a bit tight there for a while in the straight, but he got his way through and really knuckled down well to the job.
"He's a good bread and butter horse and while he's in this type of form he can certainly win again."
The victory by Takis took his prizemoney to just shy of $100,000 for owner Fred Crabbia.