Nemo packs a punch on turf too

Pint-sized sprinter Flying Nemo took out his first win on the turf after he dashed home strongly in the $70,000 Class 3 race (1200m) at Kranji on Saturday.

With four previous wins over sprint distances on the Polytrack, including his last-start win in the Class 4 race over 1100m on 6 January, the four-year-old son of Vespa was facing stiffer opposition in a field of 11 this time.

After jumping swiftly from gate eight, the $68 shot was dropped towards the back of the field by first-time partner and jockey Bruno Queiroz, albeit five-wide without cover.  

Flying Nemo (Bruno Queiroz) makes it two-in-a-row in Race 9, picture Singapore Turf Club

As $11 favourite Lord’s Command (Manoel Nunes) led the pack into the bend, Flying Nemo was seen closing in stealthily on the outside and eventually sat in third on Sabah Ace’s (Amirul Ismadi) flank before straightening for the judges.

At the 400m, Queiroz got busy on Flying Nemo before he gradually motored past Lord’s Command by the 150m. Pacific Master (Iskandar Rosman) warmed up late and began letting down on his inside, but Flying Nemo showed a great turn of foot to hold a half-length win from Pacific Master.

Sabah Ace ran on another length away in third. The winning time was 1 min 10.37secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.

Queiroz, who now sits second on the current jockeys’ log on 10 wins, sounded confident of a smart win from the Desmond Koh-trained gelding before the race.

“He flew home. I thought he can win in Class 3,” said the young Brazilian jockey, who incidentally bagged a three-timer on Saturday with two earlier wins on Smoke And Mirrors ($8) and Schneider ($15).

“(Last-start winning partner) Nunes and I talked. This horse is very well. I rode him in trackwork on Tuesday and he felt very good.

“I think this trip is good for him. He can run well on both the Poly(track) and the turf.”

Assistant-trainer Lee Soo Hin was slightly concerned with the pair punching the breeze not long after the start, but was glad the win would him in a good stead for better races in future.

“His form was there, but he’s up in class today,” said Lee, who was deputising for Koh.

“We asked him (Queiroz) to ride him in fourth or fifth, then take him out in the straight, but I was a bit worried as they had no cover too early and sat wide.

“He’s (Flying Nemo) a small horse but he showed us today he’s a Class 3 horse and he can go further because he’s still young.”

Prior to Flying Nemo’s win, Atlante Legend ($132) scored a boilover win in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race (1200m) five races earlier, bringing up a double for Koh.

With five wins and four placings in 12 starts, Flying Nemo has now amassed over $180,000 in prizemoney for the Nemo Stable.