The last meeting of the year at Kranji continued to be a graveyard for favourites after Amazing Breeze blew poor punters out of the water again in the $85,000 Better Than Ever 2012 Kranji Stakes B race (1600m) on Saturday.
Top picks have been biting the dust right from the get-go, with only Super Smart at $11 saving the day for favourite backers, but even then, it was late money that came in, given his status as the second Emergency Acceptor.
At $21, King Arthur and maybe Beat The Light at $27, were the only other winners who had been in the market, but Den Of Thieves ($53), Laksana ($69), Yes One Ball ($71) and the mother of them all, Sand Box at a whopping $503 have made backing a winner a head-scratching exercise for Singapore racing fans at this last day of racing.
Amazing Breeze (Wong Chin Chuen) runs his rivals off their feet in the Kranji Stakes B race, picture Singapore Turf Club
The $59 quote for Amazing Breeze might not have delivered the biggest knockout, but it’s more the manner of the seven-length romp from a horse whose only win prior to the Kranji Stakes B engagement came at Restricted Maiden level, that was jaw-dropping.
Red-hot favourite Red Ocean (Danny Beasley) must have been an even more painful watch for those who made him a nap after his racing clinic at his last start.
Desperate to tuck in after a good start, even held off by his own stablemate Preditor (A’Isisuhairi Kasim), Red Ocean had to be dragged back to midfield in search of cover, but had no better luck when Real Success (Oscar Chavez) and Special Ops (Hakim Kamaruddin) kicked up from underneath.
With the Ocean Park four-year-old caught in no man’s land, five wide, the wretched day for favourites looked all set to claim another victim.
Joint leaders Pennywise (Zyrul Nor Azman) and Golden Flame (Yusoff Fadzli) kept locking horns as they have done at both ends, but you didn’t need a crystal ball to realise where the race was heading when Amazing Breeze (Wong Chin Chuen) was peeled out from his box seat at the top of the straight.
The He’s Remarkable four-year-old was cantering. Once eased into the clear, he needed only a few shakes of the reins before proceeding with the demolition job.
It was daylight behind with Pennywise sticking on a shade better to edge Golden Flame by a short head in the battle for the minors. Strong N Powerful (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) tailed off badly but hugged the rails throughout to take fourth place 1 ¾ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 35.57secs for the turf mile on the Short Course.
Even trainer Jerome Tan was left speechless, but was still able to piece together a few words to rationalise the unbelievable performance from his protégé.
“I entered him without much hope. It’s a Kranji Stakes B and when I saw horses like Red Ocean, Special Ops in it, I thought ‘no chance’,” said the Singaporean handler.
“But I think the light weight did count for something in the win.”
Tan said the stop-and-start race probably stuffed things up for most of the horses, especially those coursing out wide, but it turned out to be a “Breeze” for them in their ground-saving run on the fence.
“I couldn’t quite understand the funny tactics either, they eased off midrace and they went again, but my horse was always on the bit,” said Tan.
“I must also give credit to Marc Lerner. After his last race, he’s the one who told me to try him over 1600m.
“There are no big plans for this horse. He will go for a Christmas holiday now and we’ll see about next year.”
A private purchase among a bunch of New Zealand-breds bought at bargain basement price by Tan himself, Amazing Breeze, who cost a mere NZ$6,000, has now taken his record to two wins and three placings from 10 starts for stakes earnings that have now reached around the $120,000 mark for the Applause Racing Stable.