French import Sincerely capitalised on his postage-stamp load to upend a handy field in the $85,000 Class 2 race over 1400m at Kranji on Saturday.
The former Toulouse Listed winner carried the luxury handicap of 48.5kgs after in-form apprentice jockey Hakim Kamaruddin was able to claim down to 1.5kgs for a massive pull in weights that was certainly worth its weight in gold inside the last 300m.
After riding shotgun alongside race-leader Nepean (Matthew Kellady), Sincerely looked a little caught on the backfoot when topweight Muraahib (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) took the race by the scruff of the neck upon straightening.
Sincerely (Hakim Kamaruddin) motors home to take out the Class 2 race on Saturday, picture Singapore Turf Club
But those 8.5 kilos of extra burden on the former Lee Freedman-trained three-time winner (now with Donna Logan) become a mammoth task to defy when it comes to the crunch.
As Sincerely snuck up from under Muraahib, the momentum soon swung away from the horse getting anchored down by more lead.
Another featherweight (51.5kgs) in Per Incrown (John Sundradas) was slicing through the pack to stake his claim, but Sincerely held sway to keep him at bay by half-a-length.
Lim’s Craft (Oscar Chavez) completed the trifecta for the “light brigade” with a flying third from last, another length off Per Incrown.
Well specked into $35, Sincerely recorded the smart time of 1min 21.77secs for the 1400m on the Long Course, just a little over a second outside Ace Aliado’s 11-year-old record.
The win handed both Singapore champion trainer Michael Clements and apprentice jockey Hakim a double for the day and pole position in their respective logs. Clements scored in the Novice race with hot favourite Starlight (see earlier report) while Hakim saluted two races earlier on Sacred Croix for his boss Mark Walker (see earlier report).
On four winners, Hakim is two winners clear of Lee Freedman’s apprentice jockey Iskandar Rosman (no winner) with no other apprentice jockeys having got on the board yet three meetings into the 2021 season.
Similarly, Clements was also taking his score to four winners, knocking trainer Jerome Tan (no winner) off his perch to regain a place where he finished at the end of last season, top of the heap.
To Clements’ assistant-trainer Michael White (pictured above), there were no two ways about it; the low handicap won them the race, but he added that Sincerely is a horse who has also come into his own after going amiss at his first prep.
“This horse has really improved. He ran well in the (Group 3) Colonial Chief Stakes (third to Super Dynasty),” said the Australian filling in for Clements at the post-race debrief.
“He had a few issues when he first came, but the thing we found about horses from Europe is they need about 12 months to run to their best. So, the long time off was a blessing to him.
“The distance was a bit of a concern today as he’s more of a miler, but the 48.5kgs helped him. That gave him a licence to burn up early when he sat behind the lead.
“Muraahib is a good horse but the weight difference told in the end. Hakim rode a clever race by putting him in a handy spot throughout.
“He needs more ground. I think he can even go up to 2000m.”
As for Hakim, he was thankful for the support from the champion yard, a ringing endorsement which can only motivate him to better himself.
“Thank you to Mr Clements and the owner for the ride. Getting support from more trainers can only make me improve,” said Walker’s apprentice jockey.
“This horse won because he had a light weight. He responded very well in the home straight.”
Sincerely raced as Quindio in France where he won two races, first over 1500m on fibresand at Pau in January 2019, followed six months later by the Listed Millkom Stakes (1600m) at Toulouse before he was purchased by the Falcon Racing Stable.
In six Kranji starts, the Evasive five-year-old has already proven to be an astute buy for the two-time champion owner from Thailand with two wins and two placings for stakes earnings closing in on the $120,000 mark for the Falcon Racing No 7 Stable.
Favourite Mr Malek, who was partnered by apprentice jockey Iskandar Rosman, was extremely disappointing for the Lee Freedman camp with a seventh place more than six lengths off Sincerely while his stablemate, recent Colonial Chief Stakes winner Super Dynasty was also a let-down in ninth, but in his defence, he was caught three to four wide throughout and is more of a Polytrack specialist.