Flying Fighter lands first punch, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Flying Fighter lands first punch

Luck had been deserting trainer Burridge’s 3YO, but no more after Kranji breakthrough

After knocking on the door for a while, Flying Fighter finally kicked it wide open with a first win at his 11th Kranji start on June 16.

For a fleeting moment at the business end of the $20,000 Open Maiden (1,600m), the Steven Burridge-trained galloper did give the impression he would have to live to fight another day.

Again, the Showtime three-year-old fell foul to the same issue that cost him his previous races – greenness.

As he came popping off his box seat at the home turn, the race looked all his for the taking, but he thought his job was done.

He started to loaf around.

The fast-closing Spieth Heroine (Krisna Thangamani) even looked like she poked his head in front on his outside.

But, to the great relief of Flying Fighter’s connections, their charge fought his way back to seal his first success by a neck.

“He’s done a good job. He was unlucky at his last starts,” said Burridge.

“He’s still a big baby. He gets lost in front, and I really thought that other horse would beat him.

“He doesn’t do anything wrong, but he’s just immature in the brain.”

Flying Fighter originally raced as Supreme Vanguard, having had only one unplaced start for ex-Kranji trainer Jason Lim.

He was, however, later sold as part of the dispersal sale that came in the wake of Lim’s 18-month disqualification in July 2023 due to his horse Takhi returning positive to steroids.

The first runs for Burridge were nothing to write home about, with the veteran Australian conditioner even blaming himself for racing the gelding over the wrong trips.

“I got him over shorter races at first, but I think he’ll get over more distance,” he said.

“He just needed more racing. I’m glad for the owner (M Racing Stable), who also races Flying Nemo with Desmond Koh.”

Flying Fighter may have finally got his wings, but will unfortunately not have much time to spread them further at Kranji.

The Singapore racing industry has less than four months to go before the last race is run on Oct 5.

Burridge hoped he could still have a future up North.

“He will race till the end and will probably go to Malaysia after that,” he said.

One person who is certainly keen to partner him at Kranji until the curtain comes down is Nunes.

The Brazilian ace has jumped aboard him at his last four starts, coming frustratingly close with four placings, especially at the last one in an Open Maiden (1,400m) on May 25.

“He was very unlucky at his last start, he couldn’t come out,” said Nunes.

“He’s still learning what racing is all about, but he’s getting better.

“He’s looking for more ground.”

Room was more what Flying Fighter could have struggled to find when he found himself hemmed in behind leader Supreme Liner (Bruno Queiroz) and Silver Warrior (Daniel Moor) for most of the race.

It looked even dicier when Spieth Heroine took closer order on his outside, but Nunes must have eyes on the back of his head.

The five-time Singapore champion jockey chose that very same instant to wedge his way in between Supreme Liner and Silver Warrior at the top of the straight, flushing Spieth Heroine out four wide.

“I was happy with his position in the race. When Dan came alongside, I was happy to let him go,” said Nunes.

“I wasn’t worried at all my horse would get stuck in behind as I knew he would come again.”

The Burridge-Nunes partnership continued their success story with the Al-Arabiya Stable when they took the $100,000 Kranji Stakes A race (1,400m) with Ghalib three events later.