Via Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
After finding one better twice, Irish import Spirit Of Big Bang got the chocolates at his third try, achieving the victory in brilliant style in the $20,000 Open Maiden race over 1600m on Sunday.
The son of Inkithab was at his first career win as he did race back in Ireland for one second and one third in four starts before the Team Cheval & Goldenhill Stable brought him to Singapore to continue his racing career under trainer Michael Clements.
Rising to the mile after running over 1200m and 1400m at his first two starts, Spirit Of Big Bang ($10) was never in doubt once jockey Joseph Azzopardi brought the five-year-old from a cosy spot in fifth place one-off the rails to launch his assault down the middle of the track upon straightening.
A couple of reminders round the tail to keep his mind on the job was all that was needed to ensure there would not be another horse to spoil the party this time.
Connections and backers needn’t have worried. His 10 rivals never got a look-in with Attention (Michael Rodd) winning the battle for the minors 3 ½ lengths away.
Believer (Alysha Collett) finished third another 1 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 35.74secs for the mile on the Short Course.
Azzopardi said the genuine pace and the longer distance paved the way to the breakthrough, but warned against any excessive enthusiasm about the gelding’s future.
“He’s been finishing close and was looking for the mile,” said the Perth jockey.
“He was much happier with the pace today. I wouldn’t have minded being a bit closer, but they rolled along down the back.
“We had a nice cover and at the 600m, I was very confident he would win. He was just trucking so well into the race, and in the straight, I was looking at the big screen to make sure we were well clear.
“We won’t get too carried away with the win as it’s only an Open Maiden race. If he didn’t win today, we would have reasons to be concerned, but I think he can go through his grades.”
With Clements away at the Magic Millions 2YOs In Training Sale at the Gold Coast, assistant-trainer Michael ‘Chopsy’ White gave the post-win debrief. Just like Azzopardi, the tone was one of delight, but measured.
“He’s no superstar, but he won well today. He’s certainly got some potential,” said the Australian horseman.
“The mile was his right distance. The race was run true, he was still racing a bit keenly, but they did go along a bit.”
Spirit Of Big Bang has made around $19,000 in prizemoney from that first win and his two seconds.