Selangor news briefs

Antipodean accounted for some big names to win the Metro A set-weight event over 1400m at Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, stretching his unbeaten run to five.

It was the first big test for the rising star of local racing.

Trainer Simon Dunderdale purchased the son of Derryn for just NZ$23,000 at the Ready To Run Sale and prepared him for a year before sending him to the races.

Antipodean was a sensation from the very first start, winning all his races easily.

Promoted to Class 3, the three-year-old was tried beyond 1100m for the first time in late April and beat his rivals by five and a quarter lengths over 1275m.

Despite coming up against some of the best around today, Antipodean still started odds-on (RM8) and proved his class with another stylish display.
First to break from his inside barrier, jockey Rizuan Shafiq elected to settle Antipodean just off the pace.

He lost his place on the rails halfway through the race when Berry Bliss dropped back and Shafiq took him outside of that runner.
Shafiq then took him four-wide making the home turn.

The pacemaker Good Fight, winner of the Coronation Cup last year, was still well clear coming to the 200m with Berry Bliss and Antipodean desperately trying to close the gap on the “yielding’ track.

Soon after, however, Antipodean opened up nicely and surged to the front. He went on to win by one and a quarter lengths. Perak Derby winner Trumpy flashed home to pip Berry Bliss for second.

“He’s (Antipodean) had got a bright future,” said Shafiq. “I think he will improve more and more.”

“Strong win today considering Antipodean is in Class 3 and racing against open class horses,” said Dunderdale. “He seemed to like the longer journey as well.”

“Well done jockey Shafiq with five wins and on Antipodean’s fifth win.” 

Dunderdale saddled Olympia and Fatal Attraction to victory earlier and leads the table with 29 winners.

Following the successful reconstruction of the main track, Selangor Turf Club held its first mixed programme on Sunday, with the first four races run on the No 2 track as in the last several weeks.

The remaining six races were staged on the main track.

And the star of Sunday’s first such meeting was undoubtedly former Singapore champion apprentice Shafiq Mat Rusof who booted home five winners, joining an elite band of jockeys who achieve such a feat in local racing.

Born in Kelantan, Shafiq started his riding career in Singapore in 2011 and made an immediate impact with 37 wins that year, finishing 10th in the overall jockey’s table.

Shafiq went on to capture the apprentice’s title with 54 winners in 2015, placing him fifth in the jockey’s table.

Shafiq then returned to Malaysia and rode five winners last year. He is rapidly regaining his touch and climbing up the table as well. His five wins today lifted him to fourth with 18 wins.

Shafiq first rode Pacific Prime  back in February, finding one to beat on that occasion. This time, they combined again to win the open race today easily for the gelding’s third win — his first in Malaysia — in 41 starts.

After sitting out the next race, Shafiq went on to bag the next three races astride Olympia, Happy Princess and Fatal Attraction.

Winner of just one race in Singapore, Olympia has now picked up five wins in Malaysia.

After being placed in her last three runs following her promotion from Class 5, Happy Princess started odds-on in the Class 4 – 1150m sprint and duly obliged with an easy win.

Shafiq landed another popular winner when Fatal Attraction scored first-up in Malaysia. The Australian gelding raced for two seasons back home, winning once over 2100m and was placed thrice in 18 runs.

Shafiq then scored his biggest of the afternoon when Antipodean stretched his unbeaten run to five in winning the Metro A set-weight event over 1400m.