By Michael Lee – Singapore Turf Club
Jockey John Powell will finally get to reunite with Bold Thruster in a race when the exciting galloper makes his racing comeback in the Group 3 JBBA Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m) on April 5.
The Australian was the first partner for the son of Turffontein at his Kranji debut in an Open 2YO race over 1100m on June 3, finishing fifth to Pennywise, but had to jump off at his next five starts.
With the heaviest handicap Bold Thruster was given being 54.5kgs, the heavyweight jockey could not possibly take those rides. He could only watch from the sidelines, in awe and at the same time, not without a tinge of regret.
Barend Vorster, who can ride as light as 50kgs, took over and while Bold Thruster has been all along a sit-and-steer job, the South African still did a sterling job to get him home four times from five rides, including in the Group 3 Saas Fee Stakes (1200m) at his last start on November 9.
Vorster now plies his trade in Adelaide, but that is not the reason Powell will finally get his chance. He was always meant to get back his rightful job once the weight range was more up his alley.
The first Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge is a set-weights race. Bold Thruster will carry 57kgs like all his Southern Hemisphere-bred peers (fillies carry 1.5kgs less).
Powell was aboard at Bold Thruster’s first barrier trial since the Saas Fee win on Tuesday morning and jumped off looking pleased as punch with the hit-out.
As he was overracing a touch, Bold Thruster was held together by Powell, before he was allowed to amble along to the line in fourth place, around two lengths off the winner Super Six (John Sundradas).
“He needed to get that fitness run today. He was fresh in the barriers,” said Powell.
“He was nervous in the gates at his last barrier trial as well, but he settled down later on.
“All feels good with him. Can’t wait to ride him in a month’s time.”
Until then, Bold Thruster will be set for another barrier trial – which trainer Shane Baertschiger said would be more freewheeling than Tuesday’s.
“We just took it easy with him today, but he will have the blinkers on at his next trial, which will be on the Tuesday week before the race, March 26,” said the Australian conditioner.
“As you could see, he’s strengthened up during the break. We gave him a good spell for 5 ½ weeks.
“JP said he felt bigger and stronger underneath him. It was always the plan to run him first-up in the first Leg of the 3YO Sprint and things are looking right on target.
“I’m glad JP will finally get to ride him. He does all the hard yards on this horse.”