Infantry guns down Nova Swiss
Champion trainer Alwin Tan saddles 1-2 in the Group 2 Merlion Trophy
The money was on Nova Swiss and rightly so, for being a five-from-five star.
But it was stablemate INFANTRY, who beat the evenmoney favourite by a neck to give trainer Alwin Tan a 1-2 finish in the $350,000 Group 2 Merlion Trophy over 1,200m on the Polytrack. Third, a head away, was the James Peters-trained Wimbledon.
Infantry, runner-up to eventual Horse of the Year Debt Collector in the Group 1 Singapore Guineas last May and third to Daniel in the Group 3 Colonial Chief Stakes last start, gave Tan his fourth Merlion Trophy in the last five years. Tan won with Speedy Cat in 2013 and with El Padrino in 2014 and 2015.
Interestingly, jockey Manoel Nunes, who rode Nova Swiss to all his five successess, was aboard Infantry yesterday.
The Brazilian parked the $32 shot midfield, as Wimbledon led from Nova Swiss and The General. Wimbledon and Nova Swiss looked good on straighening but Nunes' vigorous riding brought Infantry up to win in a good time of 1min 10.95sec.
"I had the perfect run. I just followed them all the way and I know my horse is very good and very tough on the Polytrack," said Nunes.
"I just thought the 1,200m was a little sharp but he had a good trial last week.
"Alwin has done a very good job with him, made the horse fresh and in very good condition, and he got the job done.
"I just waited to take the horse to the outside and put him beside Nova Swiss. I know my horse is a four-year-old now and Nova Swiss is just a three-year-old. I always rode Nova Swiss and I always told Alwin he still has got a lot to improve."
Tan agreed Nova Swiss has the potential to go far.
"But Infantry has run in the Group races before and today he has run his best again," he said.