Gold Cut's the deepest
The Group 2-winning Fitzsimmons and Duric duo strike again after Stewards’ Cup heroics
One week after claiming the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1,600m) with Relentless, the Tim Fitzsimmons-Vlad Duric partnership were back in the winner’s enclosure with Gold Cut on Saturday.
The second winning combination was this time forged in a more humble $20,000 Open Maiden race over the Polytrack 1,000m.
But it was still a harbinger that the two Australians may well be shaping up as the dynamic duo to watch at Kranji in the next couple of weeks or so.
Duric is making hay while the sun shines at a short four-meeting stint.
The four-time Singapore champion jockey has unexpectedly returned after he shortened his fifth consecutive licence last October, citing health reasons.
With Fitzsimmons’ regular rider Manoel Nunes out injured, Duric’s comeback could not have been more timely for Singapore’s current leading trainer.
The heavyweight rider has proven to be a more than worthy alternative, as evidenced by his 10-out-of-10 front-running ride aboard Gold Cut ($15).
The only moment of doubt crept up at the 300m mark, when the favourite Shanghai Star (Shafrizal Saleh) snuck up along the rails.
But the nearest he could get within Gold Cut was 3/4 lengths at the business end.
“He felt a bit jaded towards the end. I always thought he was more of a 900m horse, but he might get a strong 1,000m when he matures,” said Duric.
“He has a lot of speed, but we must harness it to finish off 1,000m. He beat a modest field today.
“I told Tim and Mr Eugene (Yong of Gold Stable) that he will be better off with a claimer in a Class 4 race.”
Trainer Donna Logan’s newcomer Rocky (Yusoff Fadzli) was one for the black book from the way he boxed on for third, another half length away.
The winning time was 59.33sec on the synthetic track.
Fitzsimmons was loath to stray too far from the tried and tested with the Reward For Effort four-year-old.
“His first two runs have been positive, but he then lost his way,” he said.
“He appreciated being fresh. I do think 1,000m is his go.
“I booked Nunes for this ride, but he’s now injured and we had a handy replacement in Vlad, who rated him beautifully.
“I was worried about the No. 1 (Shanghai Star) but my horse found the line at the right time.
“We’ll potter around with him and find another 1,000m race somewhere.”
The win has also further cemented Fitzsimmons’ perch at the top of the Singapore trainers’ premiership this season.
Ex-Kranji trainer Cliff Brown’s former right-hand man sits on 32 winners – four clear of Logan, who shot one back with Speedy Missile ($15) in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1,200m.
The Kiwi trainer gave kudos to winning apprentice jockey Yusoff for the maturity he has acquired over the last few months.
“We all know good horses make good riders and make them gain confidence,” she said.
“This boy can ride but he just lacked the confidence.
“He has been growing a lot and has matured a lot lately.
“We often have meetings with the apprentices to discuss tactics and they are all riding a treat at the moment.
“As for Speedy Missile, all his races have been on the long course. We decided to be closer today, as it is harder to ride him with patience on the short course.”