By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Nobody could begrudge trainer Shane Baertschiger for earning the tag of “king of the kids” on Friday night after three of his two-year-olds won one after another – the well-backed trio of Charming Diamond, No Regrets and Hotshots Slam.
For good measure, No Regrets ($13), a son of Showcasing, saluted in the highlight of the night, the third Leg of the Singapore Golden Horseshoe series, the $75,000 IRT Juvenile Stakes over 1200m while the other two, Charming Diamond ($12), also by Showcasing, and Hotshots Slam ($11), who is by Swiss Ace, landed the two Restricted Maiden races, both run over 1100m on Polytrack.
As if the night could not get any better, Baertschiger later went on to make it a sensational four-in-a-row with debutant Wassergeist (see other report), a son of Fastnet Rock he raced in Melbourne with trainer Trent Busuttin (son of former Kranji trainer Paddy Busuttin).
The Australian handler, whose Be Bee figured among the leading two-year-olds last year, certainly has an embarrassment of riches in the two-year-old ranks this year. After the treble feat, he singled out Hotshots Slam as the most impressive of the three winners, even professing he might be the best of his batch of juveniles this year.
“The barrier (nine) was a concern for Hotshots Slam. He was caught three wide but he won well – he could be my best two-year-old this year,” said Baertschiger after Hotshots Slam clocked a quick time of 1min 5.19secs without being fully extended, an early indication of his vast potential.
“He will go for the Aushorse Golden Horseshoe. His second trial was enormous. When Matty (Kellady) gave him a squeeze, he finished off like a smart horse.
“It’s a shame he was scratched because of mucus. Matty was meant to ride him then, but he couldn’t make the weight (49.5kgs) tonight.”
It was lightweight jockey A’Isisuhairi Kasim who did the honours on Hotshots Slam on Friday, as he did on Charming Diamond, a noticeable trend that has given the former two-time Singapore champion jockey a kickalong on such juveniles for a while now.
“I was happy to sit on the outside on both winners for Shane as they are two-year-olds and don’t like taking so much kickback, especially for Charming Diamond on the Poly,” said A’Isisuhairi, who incidentally scored his 200th Singapore win aboard Charming Diamond.
“There was a lot of speed on the inside, but both horses came back nicely beneath me. Hotshots Slam was very impressive and Charming Diamond also produced a good strong finish, and should win more races.
“I don’t ride a lot for Shane, but they were all young horses with lightweights, which I can ride. I don’t mind these young horses, they are good opportunities for me.
“One might end up becoming one of the best horses in Singapore.”
Baertschiger would not go as far as putting his three winners on such a pedestal yet, but all three should be in the mix for the last Leg, the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) on July 19.
“I had three in the third Leg, so I had to run the other two elsewhere. The handicap (49.5kgs) in the other two races also helped (make the decision on how to split his five horses),” he said.
“Both horses in the 2YO race ran well. They dictated the race, and it’s good they have the rails to guide them.
“No Regrets got a bit lost when Boom Shakalaka headed him, but he kicked back and got the bob. Boom Shakalaka was a bit unlucky (the pair were split by the fast-finishing Mister Dynamo), but they both ran well.
“No Regrets has a high action and when he ran on Poly for the first time, I thought he was a hack, but luckily, he levels it out on the turf.
“They won’t run on Polytrack for sure, but the Aushorse will be their grand final.”
In a thrilling three-way go, No Regrets held on by a short head from Mister Dynamo, who denied Baertschiger the quinella by a head. The winning time was 1min 10.84secs for the mile on the Long Course.
Jockey John Powell said he was suitably impressed with the way the Auric Stable-owned No Regrets picked himself off the canvas to overhaul his stablemate Boom Shakalaka, who incidentally, had A’Isisuhairi in the irons.
“From the good gate, the plan was to lead. At the 300m, the other horse got a neck on us, but I think he got there too soon and got lost,” said the Australian jockey.
“My horse scored a tough win.”
As for Charming Diamond, a debut third to Big Hearted – who was incidentally scratched from Friday’s third Leg – Baertschiger is adamant he should have won in easier fashion had he drawn better than 12.
“He was caught three and four wide. It was a big win; he ran time (1min 4.86secs) for the 1100m on Polytrack,” he said.
“If he draws a barrier, he wins easy.”