Makin finally goes one better, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Makin finally goes one better

After running second three times in a row, trainer Burridge’s honest sort lands the prize

If trainer Steven Burridge has been able to notch three wins in 2024, he owes them to the same owner and jockey combination.

Before his last runner Makin on Feb 24 headed out, 49 starters had gone around in eight meetings, with only Ghalib earning a win cheque – not once but twice.

The promising four-year-old is raced by Mansoor Gandhi’s Al-Arabiya Stable and was ridden on both occasions by five-time Singapore champion jockey Manoel Nunes.

Burridge had actually thought the blue silks with white epaulettes were again home earlier, when resuming three-year-old Bakeel collared Wins One ($21) in Race 9.

But reigning Singapore champion trainer Jason Ong’s tenacious last-start winner got his head back in front at the last stride.

Fortunately for Burridge and Gandhi, the disappointment lasted only 30 minutes.

Even-money favourite Makin, whose three consecutive seconds have already been a source of frustration, went one better in the penultimate event, the $70,000 Class 3 race (1,400m).

The bridesmaid tag nearly stuck on again, though.

When Ace Of Diamonds (Bruno Queiroz) pinched a run around the home turn to tackle leader Aniki (Krisna Thangamani), Makin looked boxed in.

Queiroz – currently locked in a ding-dong battle with Nunes at the top of the jockeys’ log – made sure his rival had no exits with little breathing space between his horse and Aniki, who was stuck to the fence as well.

Held up, Makin had to peel out three wide, wasting precious milliseconds – probably translating into one length or two in racing.

With only 52kg on his back, Ace Of Diamonds looked off and gone, but Makin (53kg) gobbled up the ground once freed from the restricted room.

“We were following the right horse (Aniki), but when I tried to find my way to come out, Bruno’s horse went around,” said Nunes.

“I was worried as I couldn’t come out and had go wide, by which time Bruno’s horse has already taken the first run.

“I thought he’d be hard to catch but my horse gave a strong kick and picked him up.”

Makin cut it fine, but was left with sufficient time (0.06 second) to nab Ace Of Diamonds by a neck, covering the 1,400m on the short course in 1min 21.12sec. Aniki held on for third place another 1¼ lengths away.

“I wasn’t worried where he was in the race. He drew two, and he was in a great spot,” said Burridge.

“But I thought I’d be stiff again (after Bakeel) when he got held up at the top of the straight, especially on the short course D.

“He’s done a good job to come out and get there in time. He’s very consistent, he deserves the win.”

Makin was actually turning the tables on Ace Of Diamonds, the winner at the first of those three seconds on Dec 17. But, to Burridge, the last two were the benchmark.

“He’s a nice horse who met a very good horse, Silo, at his last two starts,” said Burridge.

“Silo was too good for him, and he’s going to Hong Kong where he will represent Singapore – which is funny, because we won’t have racing any more.”

Makin’s second Kranji win incidentally capped a four-timer for Nunes, who scored earlier aboard June ($7), Sheesh ($24) and Greatham Boy ($16), one after another from Races 2 to 4.

The big haul has swung the Brazilian back on top on 17 wins, two clear of fellow countryman Queiroz whose sole win – literally – came aboard Wins One.

“Bruno has been beating me a lot lately, but it’s good to beat him today,” said Nunes.

“He rode a smart race on Ace Of Diamonds, but he got me on Wins One. But I was more than happy with Bakeel’s run.

“He was coming back from a long break after a wind op, and can only improve.

“Mansoor has nice young horses, and I’m glad he got one win with Makin today.

“This horse has improved so much with more runs under the belt now. The barrier also helped.

“He’s a lot more settled now whereas last time he was a bit keen and overraced like Ghalib.”

As for Bakeel, Burridge was also pleased with the Sioux Nation three-year-old’s first-up run.

“Bakeel was caught a bit wide, but it’s no-one’s fault. He also lost a shoe,” he said.

“He has raw ability. I’ll find a Novice race for him, then the three-year-old races next.”