Chavez runs riot with four-timer

Oscar Chavez's appeal dismissed, penalty extended from three to five months.

By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club

Jockey Oscar Chavez had a day out on Saturday when he rang up a fantastic four-timer from a full book across the 11 races on the card.

Fort Mustang, Arion Passion, Tangible and Matsuribayashi are the winning quartet that vaulted the likeable South American rider from ninth to sixth place on 12 winners following his four-star performance.

The 46-year-old Panamanian, who has plied his trade across Singapore and Malaysia for 29 years, said he had ridden a few four-timers in both Singapore and Panama, but the one on Saturday was special given the recent rollercoaster ride his career had taken.

Tangible (Oscar Chavez) puts paid to his rivals on Saturday.

Chavez was off the scene between 2018 and 2020 after his licence was not renewed. When he returned this year, he was starting to gain momentum only to be sidelined again when he sustained a thumb injury.

But the mojo from the latino was well and truly back with Saturday’s big haul, a score Chavez was actually hoping would be higher.

“I’ve ridden four before, here in Singapore and also in Panama, not in Macau, but don’t ask me when it was,” said Chavez.

“This one is even more special after the hard times I’ve been through. You know, Danny Beasley and I have waited for a long time to get our licence back and there are no harder working jockeys than the two of us.

“We are both here at 5.45am every morning and we are the last to leave at 10am. This is the reward of our hard work.

“In saying this, I was really expecting a good day when I saw my rides for today. I was actually hoping for at least four winners.

“I had high hopes on five horses, I only missed out on Star Empire in the first race. I really thought he could win, but he ran second.

“Everything went well. Things just fell into place and went how I wanted, I couldn’t be happier.

“The horse I was the most confident with was Matsuribayashi. He was underclass and was unlucky at his last couple of runs.

“I made my move around the field from the 700m as I knew once he goes away, they would not be able to catch him.”

Sent out at $28, Hideyuki Takaoka’s Japanese-bred seven-year-old by Matsurida Gogh indeed went via the cape nearing the home turn in the $30,000 Class 5 Division 1 race over 1700m, and was off and gone once Chavez gave him his head.

He actually used fairly similar tactics one race earlier, when he brought up the third pin of his four-timer, Tangible, arguably the winner with the most scope going with his thumping 3 ¼-length victory in the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1700m.

After a sluggish start that saw him settle at the rear, the South African-bred took closer order from the 700m, springboarding to a striking position round the home turn. Once Chavez put down the handbrakes, the race was all stitched up from a long way out.

The Trippi six-year-old won easing down, running the 1700m on Polytrack in 1min 45.03secs, while defeating the runner-up Born To Win (Danny Beasley) by three and a quarter lengths.

Born To Win looked the most ominous when he was launched at the same time as Tangible coming off the backstraight, but a couple of lengths astern. With both on uninterrupted runs and reeling off almost similar closing sectionals, the edge was always with the one in front.

Frontrunner Atlas (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) did his best to finish in the money, running third another half-length away.

Saturno Spring (Fadzli Yusoff) who was bidding for a three-in-a-row, was on the rails, on the inside of Tangible for most of the way, but taking the option of a run on the inside proved futile. He couldn’t get the gaps and ran a disappointing fifth.

Backed down to $11 favouritism, Tangible, a former one-time winner in Hong Kong, was opening his scoring at Kranji after five runs for the Lucky Stable.

Michael Clements, who doesn’t use Chavez all that often, praised the winning jockey for his tactical nous on his 38th winner for the season.

“Oscar rode a tactical race on Tangible. The pace last start was slow, but there was a stronger pace today and that suited him better,” said the Singapore champion trainer.

“He made his move early and at the top of the straight, he kicked clear. The horse was fit and in great shape, and it was a good ride by Oscar.”

While the fluid strides may suggest the Polytrack was a surface that suited Tangible down to the ground, Clements was adamant he was just as effective on turf.

“I think the fields are perceived to be a little weaker in Polytrack races. So I thought I’d get him in this race,” said Clements.

“I’ll definitely look for a turf race for him when we get the chance.”

Tangible is currently the only South African-bred racing at Kranji, after the longest-serving representative from the Rainbow Nation was retired in March, Mighty Emperor. Most of them used to be trained by South African trainer Ricardo Le Grange with many of his fellow countrymen supporting him with gallopers bred from their own turf, but with the complex importation and quarantine protocols from South Africa, they have become extremely rare here.

“The Lucky Stable does have a few South African-breds and that one even raced in Hong Kong,” said Clements, himself a native of neighbouring Zimbabwe.

“They are quality horses. Hopefully, we’ll get more one day.”

Author: iRace