By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Australian import Sun Trek franked his Melbourne form as well as his handy barrier trial form at Kranji with a slashing debut win on Saturday.
On his two thirds at Moonee Valley when known as North Trek for the leading Hayes & Dabernig training partnership, the Lonhro four-year-old was clearly a cut above the lot he was pitted against in the $20,000 Maiden race over 1200m on the Polytrack.
Still, trainer Desmond Koh and owner Sun Bloodstock couldn’t afford any room for complacency, especially when it comes to that first start in a foreign land.
But to their great relief and delight, the Melbourne metropolitan form stacked up from start to finish. Taking a sit on the outside of City Knight (Wong Chin Chuen), Sun Trek was off and gone in a jiffy the moment he was given his head upon cornering.
The late-closing Kakadu (John Sundradas) was the one who won the battle for the minors just under five lengths astern with Rocket Ryane (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin) third another two lengths away.
Backed down to $11 favouritism, Sun Trek (Hakim Kamaruddin) reeled the Polytrack 1200m off in 1min 11.58secs.
“This horse came with a pretty good record. The only question mark was the wide barrier (nine),” said Koh.
“He did show some speed in his work, but nothing too blistering. So I wasn’t sure how he would go, plus there was a bit of a ding-dong fight to come across.
“But once he settled outside the leader, he travelled relaxed and was too good in the end.
“I would say he’s a middle-distance type of horse. He’ll definitely get over more ground.
“It’s great to train another winner for Mr Cheng (Ting Kong). He’s been a great supporter of mine over the years.”
One person whose level of support has been growing exponentially is without a doubt the rider, Hakim, who could win on a broomstick these days.
Mark Walker’s apprentice jockey was booting home his second winner after saluting two races earlier for his boss on Entertainer. The Malaysian jockey went on to bring up a hat-trick of wins with Mustengo for Walker again, one race after Sun Trek.
Well clear in the apprentice jockeys’ premiership on 12 winners, seven ahead of Iskandar Rosman, Hakim also tops the senior riders’ log, having four more winners than Brazil’s Ruan Maia, who is already out of the picture having already left the Kranji scene after accepting an offer to ride in Hong Kong from March 1.
Hakim, who also rode Koh’s only other 2021 winner, Smiling Proud, was certainly grateful for the greater number of doors his current red-hot form has opened.
“I never rode this horse before but I saw his barrier trials videos (including one win on January 21), and I knew he was quite good,” he said.
“I was quite confident about his chances. Mr Koh told me he has enough speed to go forward.
“When I asked him to go, he quickened very well. He’s a nice horse.”