Hosayliao, got new name, hope can win some more

Hosayliao, formerly known as Sothistheone (A'Isisuhairi Kasim), emerges between runners to score on September 20.
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Via Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club

Racing is rife with all sorts of superstitions, and one of them is owners who believe a change of horse’s name will bring along a change in fortunes.

Purists scoff at such myths, but the romance of racing has no bounds, and so decided the Angie No 2 Stable to come up with a new moniker for their horse Sothistheone.

Here’s the kicker. The move came after Sothistheone at long last shed his maiden status at his 19th start in an Open Maiden race over 1400m on September 20.

Not only it was a grand premiere for the Shaft four-year-old, it also heralded the arrival of newly-licensed trainer Jason Ong, who was saddling his first runner at his first day at the office.

Sothistheone was recently transferred to just-retired trainer Bruce Marsh’s former assistant-trainer after 18 winless starts for trainer James Peters, but which still produced three seconds and three thirds.

It’s odds-on the new name will turn him into a popular pick with local punters: Hosayliao, one of the most often exclaimed expressions of “very good” in the Hokkien or Singlish vernacular.

Ong revealed it was precisely within a few hours of that memorable win that the euphoric owners, amidst a few shouts of “Ho Say Liao!” at the Champagne Room, had their moment of epiphany.

“The owners were so rapt after Sothistheone won,” said Ong.

“We did go towards that run knowing he had a chance, and when he didn’t win by a big margin (short head) from Michael Clements’ horse (Spirit Of Big Bang) who was the favourite, they were just so happy.

“It was above all their horse’s first win, which also coincided with my first win at my first runner. They were just very happy and on the spur of the moment, thought it would be a good idea to change the horse’s name to Hosayliao to mark that great day.”

It now remains to be seen if that reversal of sorts in name-changing impulses will bring the same desired effect.

After being slapped with nine points by the handicapper, Hosayliao, now on 53 points, faces a stiffer task in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1400m on Sunday.

“He picked up nine points and it’ll be a bigger test this time, but he’s well and is running over 1400m again. He probably needs a mile in the future,” said Ong.

The young Singaporean trainer also saddles Blitz Power in the same race. At her last start, the Iffraaj mare ran on well to finish fourth less than a length off the winner Sacred Don in a Class 4 race over 1200m on September 15.

With Ong’s apprentice jockey Zyrul Nor Azman suspended for careless riding, Ong is booking A’Isisuhairi Kasim (who actually rode Hosayliao to his maiden win) while Matthew Kellady will ride Hosayliao.

“Blitz Power ran a good race at her last start three weeks ago. Zyrul knows the mare well, but unfortunately, he is suspended,” said Ong.

“We’ve booked the in-form lightweight jockey of the moment, Harry Kasim. She’s got a wide draw (10), though, and will need a bit of luck.

“Hopefully she will finish the same way she ran on in the 1200m race.”