By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Underrated stayer Yulong Edition upstaged a small but select field in the $100,000 Kranji Stakes A race over 1800m on Saturday.
Rising steeply in class, the Irish-bred Makfi five-year-old on paper looked to have his job cut out against heavyweights such as Countofmontecristo, Sun Marshal and King Louis, to name a few.
But the light weight of 52kgs and yet another bottler of a ride from Benny Woodworth were instrumental in a game all-the-way victory that was in the end very simple in its execution, helped in no small measure by the favourite Countofmontecristo (Mohammad Nizar) enduring a torrid trip that already spelled bad news halfway through the race.
Shortly after straightening, with Countofmontecristo peaking on a sharp move three wide at the 700m, Sun Marshal (Raul Maia) and King Louis (Ryan Munger) looking dour even though they are noted mudlarks, Yulong Edition ($29) slingshot to an even bigger lead.
Gold Strike (Juan Paul van der Merwe) swooped down late from the ruck, but it was too little too late for last year’s Singapore Gold Cup runner-up. Yulong Edition had well and truly led his rivals a merry dance.
Two and a half lengths made up the winning margin with Gold Strike beating Sun Marshal into third place by half-a-length.
Yulong Edition ran the 1800m on the Long Course in 1min 50.18secs, ringing up his fifth win from 12 starts and stakes earnings in excess of $210,000 for the Yu Long Stable. In the UK, he raced as De Medici and won two races, over 1610m and 2019m, for Lambourn trainer Archie Watson.
“I think he handled the ground better than the others. He’s a very funny horse, he has heat stress and all that,” was Walker’s appraisal of the win.
“It’s great for the Yu Long group. Long term, the Gold Cup is his goal if he is good enough, but he’s certainly shaping up that way.
“He used to give some problems at the barriers, but he’s better now. Credit must go to John Pepe and Damien Kinninmont (Singapore Turf Club starters), we are lucky to have starters of that quality here.
“He just went from 1400m to 1800m. We’ll take it one step at a time, we may give him a freshen-up.”
Woodworth, who was at his first win on Yulong Edition, said the tactics were straightforward: Go forward, stack them up and run.
“It was a small field, the plan was to slow down the speed, and stay in the lead for as long as possible,” said the in-form Malaysian jockey who was replicating his Friday double (Lim’s Mighty and Lim’s Dream) after Ironclad scored earlier.
“In the straight, he just held them off. He was too strong today, it was a straightforward win.”
Walker, whose Time Lord (see earlier report) scored in the race before Yulong Edition, went on to bag his first treble of the season with Axel (Hakim Kamaruddin) claiming the very next race, the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1400m, for a timely riposte to trainer Michael Clements taking the outright lead when Shepherd’s Hymn (see earlier report) won Race 2.
Clements actually led after drawing level on 16 winners on Friday with his one winner Celavi, with a better countback for seconds putting him on top, but in three quickfire shots, Walker has reclaimed the leader’s mantle on 19 winners, to now sit on top, two clear of his rival.