‘Judgement Day’ was ominously descending on short-priced favourite Heartening Flyer in the home straight at Kranji on Saturday, but his sheer will to win saved the day in the end.
After camping outside lamplighter Chicago Star (John Sundradas) from the start of the $50,000 Forever Young 2017 Stakes Class 4 Division 1 race over 1400m, the $8 hotpot had everything going to script, and was quite rightly being hailed the winner when he rocked up for his run to the wire.
However, that fighting spirit of his was about to be tested yet again when Sacred Judgement (Vlad Duric) loomed upsides at the 300m and even headed him.
Heartening Flyer (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin, on the inside) holds off Sacred Judgement (Vlad Duric) to claim Race 3, picture Singapore Turf Club
Louis-Philippe Beuzelin, who has teamed up with the Excelebration entire at all of his four starts, was the right man to get him out of this pickle. Heartening Flyer didn’t score by big margins either at his previous two wins, in no small part thanks to the French jockey’s vigour.
It was another slogging battle inside the last 100m with Heartening Flyer again rising to the occasion to foil the threat and prevail by a head from Sacred Judgement. Mandrake (Marc Lerner) took third place another 2 ½ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 22.62secs for the 1400m on the Short Course.
Winning trainer Michael Clements, who at one stage, toyed with the idea of running the Tivic Stable-owned four-year-old in the Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1600m), was glad he went with the softer option, albeit the win was eked out by the skin of his teeth.
“He again showed a lot of guts. Into the straight, I thought he was a beaten horse, but Louis fought back, and the horse responded,” said Clements.
“We’ve always rated the horse highly. He had a couple of hard runs, especially at his first two wins, he looked beaten at his first win and he fought hard to score on Polytrack.”
While no trainer could complain with such a promising record - three wins in four starts for around $110,000 in stakes - Clements is still pondering about a rather drastic recourse to enhance his yield further.
“He’s a big powerful horse and on top of this, he’s still a colt. I may consider putting him out for a while,” he said.
“I may then consider gelding him as I feel it will take much more out of him if we lighten him up. I’ll give him a break and hopefully, he can turn into the horse we always felt had the capabilities to do well.”