Bold Thruster lands the Silver Bowl
He beats stablemates Top Knight and Siam Blue Vanda to give trainer Michael Clements a 1-2-3 finish in the Group 3 feature
Prolific sprinter Bold Thruster again displayed his class, consistency and charisma on Saturday when capturing his fifth Group 3 success - the $175,000 Silver Bowl over 1,400m at Kranji.
Stablemates and main threats Top Knight and Siam Blue Vanda finished second and third respectively, giving trainer Michael Clements a 1-2-3 finish in this first leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge.
The margins were half a length and 11/2 lengths. The winning time was a swift 1min 21.44sec on the Short Course B.
Clements' fourth Silver Bowl contender, Real Success, ran seventh in the field of 14.
The main worry was that Bold Thruster could be his own enemy by bombing the start, which had cost him a couple of feature races.
But his flying dispatch under jockey Louis-Philippe Beuzelin saw him lead all the way.
Bold Thruster was slowly away when a short-head second to Countofmontecristo in the Group 2 Merlion Trophy over thePolytrack 1,200m last Aug 25 and was badly away when third behind Nowyousee in the Group 3 New Year Cup over the same track and distance at his penultimate start on Jan 1.
But, last time out on Jan 26, his swift breakaway with champion jockey Vlad Duric astride earned him the Group 3 Fortune Bowl over 1,400m.
With Duric opting for Top Knight, the task on Bold Thruster fell on Beuzelin.
Just a fortnight ago, the Beuzelin-Clements partnership triumphed in the $400,000 Group 2 Chairman's Trophy over 1,600m with Countofmontecristo.
Beuzelin had been looking forward to ride Bold Thruster, knowing he had a top chance, provided his mount did not display his barrier antics again.
Luck was with him. Bold Thruster flew the gates. It did, however, took him a while to get across from barrier 12 to lead by a couple of lengths on the inside.
He was followed by Surpass Natural. Newcomer Minister was next. Then came River Radiance, Lim's Craft and last-start RDA Cup winner Aramaayo. Top Knight and Siam Blue Vanda were further back.
Bold Thruster pinched a four-length lead shortly after straightening. Surpass Natural was one-paced. It was left to Top Knight and Siam Blue Vanda to issue the challenge in the final 200m but the bird had flown.
For Beuzelin, his hard work in getting to know his mount at the barrier and trackwork paid off.
"You know, I had a feel of this horse," he said. "I understood him, why he's standing in the barriers. He has got so much energy- like a bull, you know - so we kind of got to keep that energy off together."
Beuzelin said he was a bit worried when trapped three-four wide and had to use a bit of effort to get to the front.
"Once I did hit the front, once I passed Surpass Natural, he really pricked his ears, had a breather and hoped that I didn't burn too much petrol," he said.
"But he has got a heart of gold and he really stuck in deep the whole straight, you know."
Deputising for Clements, who was in Melbourne for the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, Michael White said that the stable's Silver Cup trio were "the right horses on paper".
"It was just how the race would pan out and, obviously probably after the first turn, we got a reasonably soft lead. He's not the easiest horse to train, so it's pretty satisfying," he said.
The 1,400m is probably as far as Bold Thruster could go, so it has not been the plan to aim him at the next two legs of the series - the $400,000 Group 2 Stewards' Cup over 1,600m on March 20 and the $1 million Group 1 Singapore Derby over 1,800m on April 18.
"He'll probably be fresh-up for the Lion City Cup," said White.
The $800,000 Group 1 race over 1,200m is on May 23.
Besides the Silver Bowl and Fortune Bowl, Bold Thruster's other Group 3 conquests were the Saas Fee Stakes, JBBA Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint and the Rocket Man Sprint, all over 1,200m.
He has now amassed about $810,000 for Tivic Stable.