By Sharon Zhang, Singapore Turf Club
It could be one of the rarest winning frames ever seen at Kranji, but trainer Michael Clements had the first four runners past the post in the $85,000 Kranji Stakes B race over 1400m on Saturday, with Prosperous Return leading the stunning stable queue-up.
First-up four months after a bleeding attack, the promising Prosperous Return (Ronnie Stewart, $22) finished a neck ahead of race favourite Spirit Of Big Bang (Vlad Duric) and the fast-finishing Quarter Back (Bernardo Pinheiro), who could not be split for second place.
Karisto, ridden by Clements’ new apprentice jockey Ibrahim Mamat, lost no marks in fourth another three-quarter length away.
The winning time was 1min 21.45secs over 1400m on the Short Course.
Four trainers were contesting the race, with Clements “winning” in terms of quantity, given his four runners made up one-third of the field, while Donna Logan and Jerome Tan had three apiece and Shane Baertschiger saddled two.
It turned out the Zimbabwe-born handler would win outright on quality, too.
Not many foresaw the quadfecta (but those who did were treated to a whopping $525 dividend payout if they went with the quartet bet of 3-8-4-12), but many racegoers were on to Prosperous Return.
The four-year-old son of Fighting Sun won four times (1200m to 1600m) last year, including a second in the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint to stablemate Tiger Roar, before he returned to winning ways first-up in a Class 3 race over 1200m on February 26.
The Group 1 Singapore Derby (1800m) on July 17 looked a shoo-in for the Tivic Stable-owned gelding, but after he bled at his last start, Clements said the plans were shelved in favour of other big races like the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m) and the Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) later in the year.
Now, following another brilliant win, and provided he pulls up well, the Derby was back on the table.
“We’ll put the horse first. The Derby’s tempting, but we’ll see how he pulls up,” said assistant-trainer Michael White, who was deputising for Clements at the winner’s circle.
“He’s a super talent, we’ve got all the time in the world for him.
“He bled (after his last run) and the break’s done him a world of good, so it’s a blessing in disguise.”
Should Prosperous Return go for the Derby, one happy chap would be Stewart, who was clearly impressed at his first ride on him.
“He’s going to be my Derby ride if everything pulls up right,” said the Australian lightweight jockey who has 12 wins on the board thus far in the season.
“I thought that was a really good win. There’s still improvement there at his first run (back from a break), so hopefully they can get him to the Derby and I look forward to riding him.
“That was a tricky draw (barrier eight), so I ran the race in my head many times before, but in saying that, I’ve got a nice run through, and the race kept unfolding beautifully.
“He’s got that unimpeded run which I thought he needed. We didn’t want to force him to go in front.
“He just peaked on his run, so there’s a bit of work to do. Let’s hope there’s enough time for the Derby.
“I want to thank Clements and the owners (Tivic Stable) for their support too.”
With six wins and one second in 11 starts, Prosperous Return has amassed more than $260,000 in prizemoney for connections.
Pinheiro off the mark at five-month stint
Jockey Bernardo Pinheiro got on the scoresheet aboard the Ricardo Le Grange-trained Rocketship in the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1000m in the Lucky Last.
The Brazilian jockey flew over for a one-day visit at the Kranji Mile meeting on May 21 where he opened his account in Singapore atop Pennywise, also trained by Le Grange. He was then granted a short-term licence to ride at Kranji for five months till the end of October.
After two thirds and two seconds from 16 starts at his longer contract in Singapore, including Malibu Beach’s nose-defeat to Summer Wind in the opening race on Saturday, Pinheiro was relieved to ring in a first winner under the longer-term licence at his second meeting.
“Better late than never! Great to get a winner at my last ride on the second meeting here,” said the young jockey.
“I know it’s not easy to get a winner in Singapore, it’s competitive. I have been enjoying my time in Singapore these past two weeks and I’m working hard.
“Thank god I’ve won a race now and let’s hope things keep going well.”
Favourite ($20) Rocketship made every post a winning one before fending off stablemate Yes One Ball (Krisna Thangamani) late. Greatham Girl (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin) finished another half-a-length away in third.
“She’s quite a nice filly, but she’s just a bit timid,” said Pinheiro.
“I have been helping Ricardo at trackwork, so I know this mare quite well by now.
“She saved the day for me. The light weight (54kgs) is good for her and she’s very fresh back on the 1000m.”
Rocketship has taken her record to three wins and six placings in 15 starts for total stakes earnings edging close to $150,000 in prizemoney for Filipino owner Paolo Mendoza.