Shepherd’s Hymn chimes in for first win

Shepherd's Hymn (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin) works home nicely to claim his first win in Race 2.

By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club

Raw ability saw hot favourite Shepherd’s Hymn open his account in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1600m on Saturday.

While the 1 ¾-length win after coming off a midfield spot was full of merit, the rough edges around the So You Think three-year-old still needed polishing off.

The abundance of skills was there, but the nervous energy was not in short supply either. In a lather of sweat from the parade ring to the barriers, he was a lot more tractable in the race.

Travelling three wide for Louis-Philippe Beuzelin throughout, he soon had his 11 rivals covered when launched at the top of the straight. Mighty Vain (John Powell) momentarily hit the front, but went down tamely when Shepherd’s Hymn came upsides and drew clear to a commanding win.

After getting a nice tow behind Shepherd’s Hymn ($8) from the halfway mark, longshot Twelfth Night (Alysha Collett) was the one who grabbed second place 1 ¾ lengths away with Mighty Vain hanging on for third place another length away. The winning time was 1min 35.93secs for the mile on the Long Course.

“He was always going to be vulnerable coming straight from 1200m to 1600m. We would have preferred a 1400m, but there was none on the programme,” said trainer Michael Clements’ assistant-trainer Michael White.

“We’re just giving him some good race experience as he’s not fully wound up. We don’t want to give him too much pressure, even if Louis was pretty confident today.

“He’s still a long way off the finished product. As for his mannerisms, it was a hot day today, which may partly explain why he was sweating so much, but that’s also the way he is.

“We can only hope he will improve with time, just as it may always be there as well, but the engine is there.”

Beuzelin could not have agreed more with that profile. The only nagging doubt crept up when the gelding got so worked up in the mounting yard.

“He is a very energetic horse and was sweating up a lot. He was burning up a lot of energy and I was worried about that,” said the French jockey.

“He jumped out of the barriers and settled nicely. I took him out as there were some bad horses in front of me and I wanted to keep him out of trouble.

“He’s a horse who has kept progressing. I always liked him since last year, but there is still room for improvement, there is more gas in the tank.

“But he needs to calm down first and channel all that energy in a more productive way.”

At his third outing at Kranji, Shepherd’s Hymn has already made more than $50,000 for the Maju Racing Stable from that maiden win and his second place at his previous start in a Restricted Maiden race over 1200m.

Author: iRace