By Michael Lee – Singapore Turf Club
Troy See was a man in a hurry after he bagged the first three events on Sunday, all recorded more or less in identical style – catch me if you can.
Last year’s champion apprentice jockey, who has graduated to the senior ranks this year, rated Perfect Commando ($24), Lim’s Dream ($12) and the unpredictable Galvarino ($7) to a tee, taking up the control of the race from barrier rise through the mid-sections before parting ways in the home straight.
No doubt the good barrier draws (first two in three and Galvarino from six) pulled their weight of gold in the hat-trick, but See needed to have the right ammunition underneath first and foremost.
On Perfect Commando in the $30,000 Class 5 race over 1100m and Lim’s Dream in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1200m, See didn’t have to really dig deep into his bag of tricks to get the job done.
Both horses landed at the top of the queue without burning too much petrol, and all See had to do was save his rides for the last 400m. Once his horses pinched a commanding break in the home straight, they were off and gone.
See could even afford to stand high in the irons a long way from home, throttling down to a canter towards the line.
Perfect Commando jogged in by two lengths from My Win (John Sundradas) to clock 1min 6.7secs for the 1100m on Polytrack, while Lim’s Dream was even more emphatic in his tour de force around the six furlongs on Polytrack completed in 1min 11.85secs, gapping his rivals by just under six lengths with Yulong Express (Glen Boss) the only runner who bravely tried to gun him down, but to no avail.
Considered as his best chance of the day, Galvarino in the third race, the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1200m, was, however, the one who did not give the Singaporean jockey an armchair ride.
With his well-documented antics where he takes hold of his jockeys on unscheduled day trips to the outside fence, See knew he could not be complacent aboard the Stryker three-year-old even if he finally managed to get him to open his account at his last start.
But the Alwin Tan-trained gelding was again on his best behaviour, toeing the line to shoot straight to the lead with Toosbies (Callan Murray) acting like an “impromptu bodyguard” on his outside, hemming him in on the straight and narrow against the rails.
The acid test had been passed, but this was not quite the same Restricted Maiden company he had to pull out all the stops to beat at his last start.
Halfway up the straight, Toosbies was still serving it to him, soon joined left, right and centre by Silent Force (Vlad Duric) and Hyde Park (Iskandar Rosman) and later Lim’s Knight (Benny Woodworth), but Galvarino was all heart as he knuckled down to the task at hand to hold Lim’s Knight off by half-a-length. The winning time was 1min 10.15secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.
“He’s a very smart horse. He makes the job easier for me,” said See of Galvarino.
“The other horse (Toosbies) was only a head behind us for most of the way. I was like ‘excuse me, Callan’, but luckily, my horse was too good on the day.
“As we all know, he can be a loose cannon and you can only hope he does not lose the plot again. He will go for the 3YO series now.
“We wanted to run him in a Novice race this week, but it was cancelled. Luckily, we found this race for him or he would have been short of a run.”
The Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge kicks off with the Group 3 JBBA Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m) on April 5 and culminates with the Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1600m) on May 25.
Raced by the IB Racing Stable (same owners as Maximus), Galvarino has now found the line twice in five starts for stakes earnings around the $140,000 mark, but Tan is not taking anything for granted.
“I still have to pray hard he does not go off the track (after the start),” said the 2017 Singapore champion trainer.
“Luckily, horse No 6 (Toosbies) came next to him. Troy has more confidence in him now and he did a good job; the jockey plays a big part in this horse’s success.
“Even though he’s won two races, I am still worried he can still play up again. He has ability but he still has those wild thoughts.
“Here I have to thank my staff for the great teamwork behind Galvarino. I will now take the challenge of setting him for the 3YO series next month.”
See’s second winner Lim’s Dream also presented a challenge to connections, but of the injury kind after he broke down in the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) last July.
“He broke down in the Group 2 race last year. He had a hind injury,” said winning trainer Daniel Meagher.
“At his first run, the lack of race fitness took its toll on him (nabbed by Super Smart late). Troy gave him a beautiful ride and the horse gave Troy a beautiful ride.
“The blinkers also came off as he can overdo it at times. He ran very well and it’s good for Mr Lim (Siah Mong) who has had a lot of seconds lately.”
See said the decision to lose the headgear was key to Lim’s Dream’s maiden success at his fifth outing.
“He was a lot better without the blinkers today. Dan did the right thing to remove them,” he said.
“We learn as we go along, I’m lucky to be the one who got on when the blinkers were off. He was able to conserve a bit more, kudos to Dan.”