By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
A gelding operation proved to be key to Songgong Hera unlocking his potential going with the way the Australian import straightaway found his winning flair at Kranji on Saturday.
The four-year-old son of Spirit Of Boom did show glimpses of ability at his local debut in January, but his next two lacklustre runs had left his trainer Jason Lim scratching his head.
The Singaporean could find nothing amiss with the former Peter and Paul Snowden-trained two-time winner (both over 1200m at Kembla Grange and Gosford), but thought it could be a manhood issue
“There was actually nothing wrong with him. He wasn’t too coltish and he’s actually a good worker,” said Lim.
“But he was not finishing off his races as he should. After three races, we suggested to the owner to have his horse gelded.
“We gave him a layoff of three weeks and he went really well in his trial (won on April 1). The other thing was I think we’ve been running him over the wrong distances – he’s a pure 1000m sprinter.
“We actually told Danny (Beasley) to sit off the pace, but he had so much pace that he took off and led. He ran quick time, too.”
Beasley who was at a riding double after saluting earlier aboard Born To Win ($13) for Leslie Khoo in the opener, the $30,000 Class 5 Division 1 race over 1600m, said he had gone into the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1000m on Polytrack with the confidence that Songgong Hera was not a one-trick pony cut out for just speed scampers.
“He’s a very nice horse and he was quite impressive today,” said the Australian jockey.
“The gelding operation made a difference. He took too long to acclimatise, Singapore is not a good place for stallions as it’s too hot.
“But at the same time, I’ve been watching his races in Australia, and he used to get back, and has won up to 1200m. So I think he’ll get over more distance here with time.
“I think he’s got a good future here. He could win up to Class 3 one day.”
After dictating terms from Man Of Mystery (Jerlyn Seow Poh Hui) and Winning Hobby (Tengku Rehaizat), Songgong Hera kept finding plenty when given full bore inside the last two furlongs to go and rally to the post with 1 ½ lengths to spare from Bright Almighty (Marc Lerner) with Man Of Mystery third another 2 ¼ lengths away.
Well specked into $16, Songgong Hera clocked 58.39secs for the Polytrack 1000m, and has now collected around $30,000 in prizemoney for the Everest Racing Stable.