Fitzsimmons saddles First winner for Falcon, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Fitzsimmons saddles First winner for Falcon

Singapore Guineas in May marked on June’s diary after breaking duck for new pairing

Tim Fitzsimmons and the Falcon Stable share something in common – they were both crowned Singapore champions at least once.

But they had never shared a winner, until Feb 24.

That day, June became the horse who sealed their first Kranji success together in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race (1,400m).

Formerly trained by 2020 Singapore champion Michael Clements, the Trapeze Artist three-year-old saluted at his fourth start for the 2022 Singapore champion.

“It’s nice to get a first win for the owners. June is Falcon’s one and only horse with me,” said Fitzsimmons.

Crowned Singapore champion owner in 2019 and 2020, the Thai outfit backed leading trainers such as the late Laurie Laxon, Lee Freedman and, in later years, Clements, Stephen Gray and Donna Logan.

It was only after Clements, their main trainer, quit training in September 2023 that they had to disperse their stock to new yards.

Daniel Meagher, Jason Ong and Richard Lim received the bulk of them, while trainers like James Peters (Big Hearted) and Fitzsimmons got only one apiece.

Under normal circumstances, such breakthroughs like June’s may herald more buys, and potentially, greater success.

However, with only eight months left until Singapore racing shuts down on Oct 5, more new blood is unlikely, but further transfers may still carry on.

But, Fitzsimmons, whose stable is almost full house on 57 horses, is happy to just nurture his only Falcon ward into a better horse in the limited time left.

The Australian horseman has already set his sights on the upcoming three-year-old features, particularly the Group 2 Singapore Guineas (1,600m) on May 18.

The first 3YO race is the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1,200m) on April 6.

“June was frustrating to watch at his last run, he was a certainty beaten,” said Fitzsimmons, referring to the gelding’s narrow last-start third after running into dead ends.

“(Manoel) Nunes rode him a treat today. He rode him like the best horse in the race.

“This was a confidence booster. He beat a good horse (Peters’ Supreme Liner), and they beat the third horse (Ocean Jupiter) by 5 3/4 lengths.

“I think he’s better ridden quieter, and he’ll get better when he gets further. The Guineas will suit him.”

Nunes echoed those sentiments in his post-race debrief.

“This horse is still learning, he’s still a baby. He needs more ground,” said the Brazilian jockey.

“He was a bit forward today because there wasn’t much in the race. But, in a big field, he’ll be better off dropping back and sprinting home.

“James’ horse had a good barrier beside him and was the horse to beat. I was hoping another horse would take him on – and it happened that way when Zaki (Pride Of Love) went forward.

“I just followed them all the way.”

The five-time Singapore champion jockey always commands the best rides, but they can turn into a happy headache.

Two races later, Nunes combined with Fitzsimmons in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race (1,200m) to steer his more proven three-year-old, joint-$16 favourite (with Starboy) Greatham Boy, home.

“They’re both good three-year-olds, but it’s still too early to decide. I also have Bakeel,” said Nunes, who finished second on the resuming Steven Burridge-trained youngster later.

“Greatham Boy is a horse with a short burst, so I waited. I was a bit worried when the leader kicked clear, but my horse showed a good response.”

Greatham Boy is another ex-Clements who has not fired right away with the change of scenery.

The son of Stratosphere did not quite live up to the hype around his Group 3 Singapore Golden Horseshoe (1,200m) win, albeit he lost no friends with two placings in three starts for Fitzsimmons.

“He’s been a frustrating horse to train, but I’ve figured him out now,” said his new handler.

“We just have to ride him patiently. A few times, he took off too early, and he’s much better on turf than Poly.

“Today, I told Manoel to roll the dice and go forward and, hopefully, get cover. We thought there’d be enough speed to slot in.

“We just had to wait as he has a good sprint over only 200 to 300m. He attacked the line really well and showed an incredible turn of foot.

“He’ll be a live chance for the Three-Year-Old races.”