Condor wins, ‘misses the cut’
Trainer Fitzsimmons’ colt spared gelding operation after shedding maiden tag in style
Whether Condor had a sixth sense his prized assets were on the line or not, he certainly chose the right moment to raise his game in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race (1,000m) on Saturday.
Trainer Tim Fitzsimmons had seriously been considering gelding the three-year-old colt after three runs, not so much for the defeats, but more for his ordinary work ethics.
The headstrong individual had not been the easiest commodity to train, but the Australian still gave him the benefit of the doubt for one last time.
Racing antics aside, the Singapore champion trainer felt his charge has not also had much luck, especially with his barrier draws.
With barrier No. 3 on Saturday, there were no more excuses to put on hold the appointment with the vet’s knife any longer.
“He was on notice. If he had run badly again, we would have gelded him but, luckily, he won,” said Fitzsimmons.
“But, to be fair, nothing has gone his way in the three starts he has had so far.
“Every time he’s drawn a bad barrier. Today was his first time drawing a good barrier (two).”
The handy alley played a significant part in getting him into a stalking position in the box seat behind leader Big Max (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin).
Condor, the only progeny of little-known Queensland sire Encryption, hit the front once he was peeled out for his run.
With favourite Toh Guan Treasure (Koh Teck Huat) struggling to keep up halfway into the straight, the sole threat left was Flying Success (Iskandar Rosman).
But Condor ($38) held the James Peters-trained galloper safely at bay to post a 1¼-length win, with Fire (Wong Chin Chuen) beaten by a similar margin in third. The winning time for the Polytrack 1,000m was 58.48sec.
Jockey Ronnie Stewart, who linked up with Condor for the first time at his last start (unplaced), said the key to the breakthrough was the improved mannerisms.
“I rode him at his last start and he drew sticky (10). I couldn’t hold him up and he didn’t like having too much company,” said the Australian lightweight jockey.
“We went back and he was pulling really strongly. When he is off the bit, he starts to stargaze.
“We learned a lot from it, but at his last trial, Bruno Queiroz rode him and could not hold him back.
“Today, he was back to 1,000m and I told Tim if we draw a barrier, he may have a chance.
“We were happy to lead but when Big Max came up, I thought it’d be better to have something to follow. As it turned out, things unfolded well.
“He can go further but he’s probably mentally not ready yet.”
Fitzsimmons concurred that Condor was not just an out-and-out speedster, and was pleased to bring up a winner for two of his most loyal customers.
“He settled good today. There is no reason why he can’t go over 1,200m or on turf,” he said.
“It’s a first win for Eugene Yong (Gold Stable) in partnership with Glenn Whittenbury (Barree Stable). It’s encouraging for them, they’ve also got another unraced horse as well.
“Big thank you to Wattle Bloodstock and Peter Twomey for helping me get this horse.”
The $40,000 in stakes Condor has chalked up from his first win is a first step towards recouping his price tag of A$150,000 (S$132,000) at the Inglis Ready2Race Sale in Sydney in October 2022.