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Baffert blows them away

From a good gate, Brown's runner comes good again

Give a horse a decent gate to jump from in a sprint race and, with luck, he will do the rest.

Just ask the connections of Baffert, a smart winner at Kranji on Sunday.

The Cliff Brown-trained runner has been having dismal luck at the "draw". Somehow, he's always managed to draw an outside gate.

Indeed, his last three races saw him jump from gates 11, 12 and 13.

Not ideal in a race where speed is of the essence.

So it was, when he drew a respectable 6 for Sunday's $70,000 Kranji Stakes C race over the 1,200m, his connections felt he had a chance.

The opposition weren't duds. There was Paparazzi, Yulong Xiongyin, the exciting youngster Revolution and seven-year-old Kranji newcomer Mikki Joy.

But Baffert had the draw and he made sure it paid off.

Ridden by jockey Michael Rodd, Baffert jumped cleanly, took a seat in fourth spot, as Yulong Xiongyin dictated terms.

Into the final stretch and Baffert, after having had an economical run, decided to show the rest what he could do.

Urged on by Rodd, he had the race won far from home. The rest tried - but on the day and from that good gate, Baffert wasn't going to be denied victory.

It had taken one year and one day for him to finally taste victory again and it must have been sweet.

His last win was on Jan 12 last year. Brown said Baffert had done nothing wrong but it was his poor form at the barrier draws that had done him a major disservice.

"He's a nice consistent horse and he deserved it. He came back from a break (since Nov 9) and was really well," said the Australian handler.

"It's the first time he's drawn a barrier for a long time. That helped, too."

Rodd echoed Brown's sentiments that the Premier Racing & Forever Lucky Stable-owned five-year-old gelding was due for a change of luck.

"He had the perfect run. He deserved to win after he's been drawing such bad barriers," said the Australian jockey.

"I had to drag him back at his last start and he still flashed home for seventh. Before that, he also had a bad draw and was caught deep throughout.

"I was in neutral in the first 500m and had it soft. Paparazzi and Revolution got up on my tail, but that stacked up the speed nicely for us. He was just too good."

Paparazzi, ridden by Kranji's new fully licensed jockey Ben Thompson, came home late to claim second place, two lengths away. Yulong Xiongyin eventually weakened out to finish third, another length away.

With that second win, Baffert's earnings have exceeded the $120,000 mark.

HORSE RACING