By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
A smart go-forward ride from Krisna Thangamani on longshot Nowyousee rewarded the Malaysian apprentice jockey with his first Group win in the $175,000 Group 3 New Year Cup (1200m) on Wednesday.
Trainer Ricardo Le Grange’s protégé stole the race when the O’Reilly five-year-old responded to his urgings at barrier rise to spring to the front, a strategy arguably made easier by favourite Bold Thruster (Vlad Duric) bombing the start and trailing the field by four lengths upon despatch.
Once in command, Krisna allowed his fleet-footed customer to stride along within his own steam ahead of last year’s New Year Cup winner Constant Justice (Michael Rodd) and the unbeaten Surpass Natural (Juan Paul van der Merwe) hugging the rails in third place.
Meanwhile, Bold Thruster still had his legion of backers clinging to a shred of hope when he started circumnavigating the field around the last bend, seemingly still with some unspent petrol left in the tank.
But that illusion was soon shattered when Krisna released the brakes at the top of the straight. Nowyousee, who had only 50kgs on his back, took flight like he had never been tested throughout the run, widening the margin with every inch of Polytrack he gobbled up towards the winning post.
With the race all parcelled up, Krisna could afford to lift his foot off the pedal closer to the wire, as Nowyousee jogged in with three lengths to spare from Skywalk (Daniel Moor). To his connections’ dismay, Bold Thruster gave an idea of what he could have potentially done had he not blundered at the start with a brave third place only another half-length away.
Another well-backed runner, River Radiance (John Sundradas), just missed out on a podium finish by a short head. The winning time was 1min 12.54secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.
While the $139 odds suggested not many had dared believe in Nowyousee’s chances, the New Year Cup triumph finally gave credence to the Group material tag the Titanium Racing Stable-owned galloper had long been slapped with.
At the peak of his powers, Nowyousee reeled off six wins (all on Polytrack) under two different trainers, Le Grange and Lee Freedman. He then went through a winless patch, only to bounce back at the right time at elite level in the traditional curtain raiser.
That seventh success coupled with seven placings have boosted Nowyousee’s earnings past the $450,000 mark for Jeffrey Soh’s Titanium Racing Stable.
“I did win a trophy race in Malaysia, the Kenilworth Trophy, but this is my first Group win. I’m very happy,” said Krisna, who spent his formative years with Richard Lines in Kuala Lumpur before moving down South in 2017.
“I’d like to thank the trainer and the owner for that ride, and also the Singapore Turf Club for extending my licence here.
“I basically just followed the trainer’s instructions. He had only 50kgs and we decided to use his gate speed to go forward.
“He’s a horse who always ran well and finished thereabouts. Today, he jumped well and carried on into the straight and he then gave me a good response in the straight.
“I still had a lot of horse under me and I was confident he could go all the way.”
Tan might not have been as bullish as Krisna given the quality field his charge was pitted against, but he was not all that surprised either the speedy customer has finally come through in a big race.
“Daniel Moor said he was flattened after one of his races. He got tired and we gave him a break,” said the Penang-born conditioner who was notching his third feature race win after Clarton Super landed the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy (1400m) at his first year of training in 2017 followed by the Group 3 Fortune Bowl (1400m) with the same Clarton Super the next year.
“We always planned to make him come back in this race. Amirul (Ismadi) was meant to ride him, but he couldn’t.
“I had a dream Krisna would ride a black horse for us and I chucked him on this one, even if he’s not really black – and there you go. Credit must also go to (Singapore Turf Club riding coach) Matthew Pumpa, who has really improved Krisna.”