Baertschiger's duo end long drought
Trainer pays tribute to Zaki and Kellady for the wins by 11YO Flak Jacket and 7YO Be Bee
One is 11 years old and did not win for 1,177 days, the other a seven-year-old and winless for 1,086 days.
But Flak Jacket and Be Bee, both trained by Shane Baertschiger, finally bounced back at Kranji on Saturday for their sixth and seventh victory respectively.
Both won by half a length and prevented three-time Singapore champion jockey Manoel Nunes from extending his winning haul.
Flak Jacket, ridden by Mohd Zaki, beat Nunes’ Wawasan in the $30,000 Class 5 Div 1 race over the Polytrack 1,000m.
Just a race later, jockey Matthew Kellady steered Be Bee to beat the Brazilian’s Siam Warrior in the $70,000 Class 3 event over the Poly 1,100m.
Nunes still had a good day with four winners from nine rides. The rest of his mounts finished second.
Flak Jacket was fourth early behind Super Posh, Golden Dash and Snip but soon found the lead.
Wawasan, who was slow into stride, made up ground on the inside. He loomed up menacingly in the straight and challenged Flak Jacket, the new leader.
For a moment, it looked like he could win, but Flak Jacket fought back under Zaki to score in 59.55sec, thus snapping three consecutive runner-up spots. His last success was on Oct 19, 2018.
“Flak Jacket has actually been knocking on the door. He has run three seconds in a row. There is actually a big difference between Class 4 and Class 5,” said Baertschiger.
“A big shout-out to Zaki who works this horse every day, just like Matty is the one who works with Be Bee all the time.
“I’m pretty sure Zaki and Matty are about the only senior jockeys who stayed back during the whole break. They never went away and kept working hard. Those two wins are theirs.”
Flak Jacket, who started racing on June 15, 2014, was clocking in his 81st start.
He has brought his record to six wins, 17 seconds and eight thirds. His prize money has tipped over the $600,000 mark, first for Australian owner Geoff Grimish and then the Flak Jacket Stable.
Interestingly, Be Bee has had a shorter career with 37 starts, but has one more win.
Two of his successes were in feature races – the $325,000 Group 2 Aushorse Gold Horseshoe and the $250,000 Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint, both over 1,200m on turf.
He has three seconds and five thirds. In total, he has amassed about $760,000 in prize money for Jerry Sung of Auric Stable.
The son of Showcasing was already booked for Malaysia to continue his career there. But Saturday’s timely win has got him off the float at the eleventh hour.
“Be Bee bled from both nostrils four starts ago. He came back and didn’t do much at his first two runs, but he ran fifth at his last start. He could have finished second if he didn’t get held up,” said Baertschiger.
“I had actually already booked him for Malaysia, but after today’s win, I just told Jerry he’s too good to send to Malaysia.
“I told him if he bleeds again, not to worry, we won’t put him down. We’ll find a nice home for him. Let’s hope he pulls up fine, as he was really jog-trotting coming to the home turn today, it was the old Be Bee again.”
On Saturday, Be Bee was further back than midfield, as Ironchamp was seen burning the candle from both ends as he led.
Nunes nudged Siam Warrior forward shortly after straightening and looked headed for victory.
But Kellady persevered and came with a storming run to defeat Siam Warrior.
Supported, he paid $23 for a win. Flak Jacket paid $28.
Be Bee last won on Jan 18, 2019.