Via Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Promising three-year-old Count Me In lived up to his prohibitive $7 odds with a commanding win in the $50,000 Spalato 2016 Stakes over 1100m on Sunday.
Ridden by in-form jockey Benny Woodworth, the Showcasing colt, who flew home to miss third place by a neck in the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m), proved to be way too good in the easier Class 4 Division 2 event.
Held in centrefield by Woodworth, Count Me In, who, midrace, seemed to be labouring on the Polytrack – a surface which he was treading on for the first time in a race – suddenly started to put in the big bounds when he was allowed to circle his nine rivals at the 500m mark.
In one fell swoop, he rounded up the leading bunch before skipping clear to a comfortable 1 ¾-length win from Elite Beast (Ng Choon Kiat) with Effortless (John Powell) third another three-quarter length away. The winning time was 1min 4.89secs for the 1100m on the Polytrack.
At a rare double after saddling the winner in the first race, Yulong Fire, trainer David Kok was full of praise for the Mauritian-owned galloper, who scored on debut in Restricted Maiden company back in June.
“He’s a good horse with a nice conformation. He can take a sit and finish off,” said Kok.
“He was off the bit for a while today, but I think it was because it was his first time on the Polytrack. Once he went around he was okay.
“I’ll probably bring him back to turf next, give him another run before we aim him at the Saas Fee Stakes in November.”
The Group 3 feature race over 1200m on turf is for the first time open to only three-year-olds this year.
With two months to go before the Saas Fee Stakes, Woodworth will be hoping Count Me In keeps going on an upward spiral in order to measure up to such a lofty level.
“He has been working impressively. He has improved from his two runs,” said the Malaysian jockey.
“Today, I brought him back to settle in behind the speed. He didn’t enjoy the Polytrack and was struggling for a while.
“But once I pulled him out, he ran on strongly. He didn’t meet much of a field today, so he’s got to improve to keep winning.
“He’s a sensible horse, he just needs to settle better. He jumps and puts himself in a good position.
“With these young horses, you don’t want to do too much with them, just teach them to come out and settle better.”
With that second win from three starts, Count Me In has now chalked up close to $80,000 in stakes money for the Blue Ocean Stable.