By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
After bookending the peloton in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1400m on Saturday, the well-backed Michael Clements pair of Tiger Roar and Day Approach went on to fill the forecast at the business end.
Day Approach was scrubbed up early by Louis-Philippe Beuzelin from their widest alley to find the steel while Tiger Roar, the even-money favourite, was eased out the back to whip up the field.
The well-laid plan could not have hatched a better result for the Zimbabwean-born mentor – both occupying the first two seats at the finish.
Twice second at his first two Kranji runs, Day Approach was still going great guns hard up against the rails in the home straight, while Tiger Roar, third to Be You at his debut, was looming as his main threat when he was hooked to the outside for his charge to the line at the top of the straight.
Inside the last 100m, the two Clements were so wide apart it was tricky to ascertain who had the ascendancy, but five or six strides from the winning post, the picture became clearer.
Propelled by a better head of steam, Tiger Roar went on to score a soft win by 1 ¾ lengths from his stablemate, who in his defence, might have used a touch too much petrol in his early exertions at the start, ending up playing second fiddle for the third time from as many starts. Golden One (Juan Paul van der Merwe) finished third another three-quarter length away. The winning time was 1min 22.66secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.
Clements said it was always the idea to run his two horses in that pattern on Saturday, and was delighted it’s paid off.
“Tiger Roar has always been outpaced early in his trials, though he did better in his last trial,” he said.
“He did it again today, but I feel he is just content to be out there at the back, and we were on the long course as well. We had a lot of confidence in him, we knew he would finish it off.
“Before the race, I told Ryan to ride him where he lands, where he’s happy and he will finish off.”
Clements is now hoping Day Approach will shed his bridesmaid tag soon, provided luck is on his side.
“We were hoping he’d have enough gate speed to go forward instead of getting trapped wide. I told Louis to lead if he can and then give him a breather, which he did,” he said.
“He again ran well, but he’s been a bit unlucky at the barriers. The day he gets a barrier, he should be able to win his first race, he deserves it.”
A fan of stallion Wandjina, Clements didn’t think twice about forking out A$100,000 to secure the fetching colt by the 2015 Australian Guineas winner, later to be named Tiger Roar for the powerful Falcon Racing Stable at the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale last year.
“I like Wandjina’s, I’ve got Monday who is also by Wandjina and also came from the same sale,” said Clements.
“I liked Tiger Roar as a type, he presented very well, and I bought him for A$100,000 on behalf of the Falcon Racing Stable.
“He ran okay at his first run, he finished third behind Be You. He just needs a bit of time to wind up.
“As a colt, he’s been fine. I always felt he wants more distance, the further he gets, the happier he’ll get.
“I may look at a Class 4 race for him next.”
Tiger Roar’s win turned out to be the first pin of a race-to-race Clements treble for a much-needed tonic following the unfortunate demise of his star sprinter Bold Thruster from a trackwork injury on Thursday.
Odds-on favourite ($8) Jacksa (Beuzelin) came with a sustained run to claim the next race, the $20,000 Open Maiden race over 1200m before Pattaya (Juan Paul van der Merwe, $26) sliced through the pack at the 300m to complete the rout in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1200m.
“It’s been a sad week for us, but this treble will cheer us up a little,” said Clements.
Not only the hat-trick of wins brought the smiles back to the yard, it also vaulted them to the top of the heap on 37 winners, one clear of Mark Walker, but you can rest assured the reigning Singapore champion trainer won’t take long to retaliate.