Reigning Singapore champion trainer Michael Clements gave a timely reminder that he was still a mighty force to be reckoned with following an early quickfire double from two mares in the first two events on Saturday at Kranji.
With only one winner to lay claim to for the whole month of September – Ablest Ascend – it’s been more descent than ascent for Clements in recent weeks, exacerbated further by in-form arch-rival Mark Walker shooting clear at the top by a space of seven winners.
Almost like responding on cue to a much-needed reaction, two hot favourites, Harry Dream ($10) in the first race, the $30,000 Class 5 Division 1 race over 1100m, followed by Greatham Girl ($7) in the next race, the $20,000 Open Maiden (1400m) have stepped up to the plate to bring the Clements machine back in the hunt.
Greatham Girl (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin) makes light work of her rivals to get on the scoresheet, picture Singapore Turf Club
The Zimbabwean-born conditioner was his usual composed self as he reiterated he had been prepared for the subdued time, but was always confident he would snap out of it eventually, even if deep down, one can sense the palpable relief it had come sooner rather than later, especially with only nine meetings left.
“A lot of my horses were due for a break. The handicap had caught up with them, many have gone up in ratings” he said.
“That explained the quiet period, even if it’s been longer than usual. It’s good to be back in the winner’s circle.”
On his first winner Harry Dream, Clements said the 23-kilo rise in weight was more muscle than fat, a pleasant physical growth after the hoof woes the four-year-old Pins mare went through.
“She’s a filly who had issues with both her front hooves, she’s got flat hooves. We’ve had to nurse her along and we’ve managed it well,” he said.
“It took a bit of time to get it right, and then she had a break (seven months) which did her a lot of good as she picked up around 20kgs. She has got a lot stronger physically.
“That has helped her a lot and she also runs well fresh. She was pretty impressive today, she’s clearly better than Class 5.”
Harry Dream was anything but flat-footed when Wawasan (Jerlyn Seow Poh Hui) collared race-leader Bizar Wins (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) five lengths ahead of her upon straightening. Once Shafrizal Saleh gave Harry Dream a couple of reminders around the tail, she just took off down the middle of the track to outclass her opponents.
The willing mare bolted up by more than three lengths from the late-closing Flak Jacket (Matthew Kellady) with Wednesday (Wong Chin Chuen) third another half-length away. The winning time was 1min 5.21secs for the Polytrack 1100m.
Greatham Girl was just as dominant in her 3 ¾-length romp under jockey Louis-Philippe Beuzelin. Taking a drop on the early pacemakers despite jumping the smartest from barrier No 4, the Super One four-year-old was never in doubt once she shouldered her way between race-leader Lim’s Hopefully (Danny Beasley) and Sugar Rush (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) upon straightening.
She soon had the race shot to pieces as she scooted away by a widening margin from Mighty Vain (Seow) who beat Lim’s Hopefully into third place by one length. The winning time was 1min 23.61secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.
“Greatham Girl had shown up nicely in some high-class races prior to this. The 1400m was good for her and she drew well (4) today,” said Clements.
“She showed a lot of pace and was up with them before, but we noticed at her last two starts that she runs better when off the pace. She was up there because she showed a lot of pace from the better barrier and Louis just let her settle behind the leaders.
“She was strong up the straight even if there was a bit of interference in the first half of the straight. She then pulled away to an easy win.
“I’ll probably keep her at similar 1400m races next.”
Raced by similar connections with shares in the likes of Shepherd’s Hymn and Moon Face, Greatham Girl has got off the mark at her fifth start to take her prizemoney past the $25,000 mark for the Greatham Girl & MA Racing Stable while Harry Dream was recording her second win from only three starts for stakes earnings just a tick under $30,000 for the Appointed Whale Stable, who also races useful four-time winner Paletas.