Promising youngster Star North has knocked in his first win in the $20,000 Open Maiden Division 1 race (1200m) at Kranji on Saturday.
The Savabeel four-year-old had been knocking on the doors at his first three starts this year with two seconds and a third in similar races over the same trip. After a seven-month break, he resumed first-up on 4 November when he ran sixth to Sacred Buddy.
With first-time partner Saifudin Ismail on board, Star North broke cleanly from barrier two but was snagged back behind the leaders on the rails while You Think So (Jamil Sarwi) and the resuming July (Jerlyn Seow) led the field in front.
Star North (Saifudin Ismail) off to his first win in Race 2, picture Singapore Turf Club
As the bunched-up field straightened for the judges, Star North moved steadily to the front but You Think So and Prince Lonhro (Yusoff Fadzli) would not go away. Meanwhile, $12 favourite Royal Commission (Manoel Nunes) also kept motoring home on the outside.
With a few reminders from the whip, Star North ($21) finally pulled away from the rest at the 100m. He won by three parts of a length from Prince Lonhro while Royal Commission lost no marks first-up when he finished another head away in third.
The winning time was 1 min 10.72secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.
Though Star North had been kept to the six furlongs in all his runs thus far, Saifudin thought the PSM Racing Stable-owned gelding could step up in trip in future.
“It’s the first time I rode him and everything went according to plan,” said the veteran Malaysian jockey of his sixth win this year.
“I sat him midfield on the rails and the blinkers also helped him to focus.
“At the last 250m, I thought he hesitated a bit when he was inside horses, but as soon as he got through the gap, he quickened away.
“I think he can go up to 1400 or 1600m no problem.”
Assistant-trainer Zairi Othman reckoned Star North has matured from before and agreed he can go over longer.
“I think he’s quite good. When he first started out here, he was immature, now he’s settled down well,” said Zairi, who stood in for trainer James Peters as the latter flew to Hong Kong to attend the Hong Kong International Races on Friday.
“He came back after a long break and needed the run at his last start, but he’s had a good prep this time.
“We told Saifudin to ride him where he’s comfortable and be in third or fourth.
“He’s still young and from the way he ran, he can go over longer.”
Purchased at the 2021 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale for A$205,000, Star North has earned over $46,000 for PSM Racing Stable with his first win in five starts.