Big Union can continue winning combination for Tan and Pinheiro

A quick glance at the record book suggested the partnership of trainer Jerome Tan and jockey Bernardo Pinheiro is one to follow in 2024.

After returning from his Dubai stint to ride in Singapore on 13 April, Pinheiro has combined with Tan 23 times for six wins and at a healthy strike rate of 26.1%.

Furthermore, Pinheiro, who also rides a good deal of horses for trainer Ricardo Le Grange, was on the last five of Tan’s 12 wins this year and punters should be on “high alert” whenever they team up.

Big Union (Bernardo Pinheiro) is seeking back-to-back wins on Saturday, picture Singapore Turf Club

On Saturday, the formidable duo will endeavour to add to their recent excellent record in three races; most notably with last-start winner, Big Union, in the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1200m.

The flashy three-year-old son of Zoustar was impressive when he knocked in his first win in a Restricted Maiden race (1100m) on 9 June. The company on Saturday will hold no fears, given Big Union was narrowly beaten into second in a Class 4 race over the same trip on 25 May.

Tan said the Cat Racing Stable-owned gelding has trained on well since his maiden win and should run well with the in-form Brazilian jockey a factor.

“He’s riding well, isn’t he?” said Tan of Pinheiro.

“And he knows my horses well; including Big Union who he won on at his last start.

“I thought that win was impressive and he (Big Union) pulled up very well, which is always good.

“Bernardo worked on him this morning and was very happy with how he went. He (Big Union) has showed he handles this company at his first two runs, so he should go well.

“I think he’s a smart horse and very easy to deal with. It’d be nice to see how good he can be in the time left at Kranji (Singapore racing will cease to exist after the last meeting on 5 October).”

Tan will also put Pinheiro on Amazing Breeze (x He’s Remarkable) in the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1400m and Big Day (x Hinchinbrook) in the $30,000 Class 5 Division 2 race over 1400m. The Singaporean handler believed both runners have winning hopes.

“Both are honest and look to have found the right races,” he continued.

“Bernardo just missed on Amazing Breeze in a similar race (Class 4 over 1400m on 9 June) at his last start and there’s no reason to think they won’t go close again.

“And Big Day looks ready to win too; just needs things to go his way. Bernardo rode him in trackwork today and was happy with him.

“They are fit and well and hopefully, they can get a result for their recent efforts.”

Pinheiro agreed that his three rides for Tan looked like winning hopes and appreciates the support given by Tan.

“I’m very thankful to Jerome,” said Pinheiro, who now sits in fifth place on this year’s jockeys’ premiership table on 15 wins.

“He has been supportive of me and keeps his horses very fit, so they are always a chance and I’m happy to help out with his horses every morning.

“I’m looking forward to my three rides for him on Saturday, especially Big Union.

“I think the race he won wasn’t that strong and it was a small field (of seven runners), but he won very well and I was happy with him at trackwork.

“He can race handy or midfield and has a good turn of foot, so he will have every chance.

“I told Jerome that he (Big Union) would go through the grades and should get over more distance too, so he’s a good horse to follow.

“I think Amazing Breeze will run well again. He can be keen in races, so I would prefer some pace on so he can relax, but he’s fresh and will go very close.

“Big Day looks to have found the right race too. He’s very consistent and it’s a (Class 5) Division 2 field, which suits his level. He’s close to winning and I hope this is his day.”

Tan also nominated two runners, Energy Baby and Lucky Baby, in the highlight race on Saturday, the $70,000 Class 3 race (1600m). He reckoned Energy Baby (x Rich Enuff) will be the one to watch after excuses at his last start.

“He was wide throughout and we can put a line through that run,” he said of Energy Baby’s distant last in a Class 3 race over 1800m on 25 May.

“It was also his first run over that distance, so dropping back to 1600m will be in his favour.

“(Jockey) Marc (Lerner) will ride and he (Energy Baby) just missed three starts back over the same trip and company (in a Class 3 race on 21 April).

“He worked well for Marc this morning and I’m very happy with how he is going.”