Muraahib finally lives up to hype third-up

Muraahib will be among the leading hopes in the EW Barker Trophy on Sunday.
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Via Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club

The much-vaunted Muraahib finally underscored his undeniable potential with an impressive first Kranji win at his third start on Sunday.

A former four-time winner for trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig in Melbourne, the Reset five-year-old set the standards high with a 7 ¼-length barrier trial win on July 11, but could only run third on debut in a 1000m race before following up with a second place at his last start in a 1200m. Both races were in Class 3 company.

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Though trainer Lee Freedman admitted he was expecting more from the horse he shares in partnership with the Oscar Racing Stable, he forgave those runs, but he would be less tolerant of another defeat in Sunday’s $70,000 Class 3 Division 2 race over 1200m on Polytrack.

“I had an enormous confidence in this horse. He was on the speed the first time and just missed out, but he drifted out at his next run,” said Freedman.

“He was rated very highly back home and I would have been disappointed if he didn’t win today.”

Ridden by John Powell for the first time, Muraahib ($10) was always in the first few, ambling along off the speed set by Super Power (Krisna Thangamani) and Charger (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) before taking the race by the scruff of the neck at the top of the straight.

Super Power stuck on gamely while Charger could not muster a response as Muraahib skipped clear to go and score an easy win by 2 ½ lengths from Super Power. Stunning Cat (Joseph Azzopardi) ran on late for third another length away.

The winning time was 1min 10.95secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack. That first win cheque has swollen Muraahib’s account to around the $55,000 mark for the Oscar Racing Stable.

Powell said he was just lucky to get the sit on the former Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum-owned gelding at the right time.

“He had quite good form, but I noticed he was a bit of a gangly sort,” said the Australian jockey.

“He was unbalanced, but he was a bit smoother today. There was some speed outside, and I used his speed to come across and sit outside the leader.

“He ran away from them in the end, his action was good. All the credit should go to the horse.”

Powell, who rode Bruce Marsh’s first winner, Hello And Goodbye in the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (2000m) in 2005, took the opportunity to wish the Kiwi handler well at his last day of training at Kranji. Marsh fittingly ended on a winning note with Supernova (see earlier report) three races earlier.

“Bruce and I go back a long way. He and his wife Kay are lovely people,” said the Australian jockey.

“It’s sad to see him leave as he was a good bloke and a good trainer. I wish him and Kay all the very best.”