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Mariana Trench rises to the top

Quieter riding tactics finally come off for promising Clements galloper on Sunday

Sit-and-wait tactics proved to be the right formula in bringing out Mariana Trench’s hidden potential on Sunday.

Ridden by Vlad Duric in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race (1,600m), the son of Kermadec came from off the pace with an unsuspected withering turn of foot.

After such a blinder, it was a wonder why it has taken connections that long to suss him out.

But trainer Michael Clements said that they did not suddenly have a lightbulb moment that a patient ride would work the best for the raw gem raced by the Tivic Stable.

To the 2020 Singapore champion trainer, it was quite obvious from the outset that he was not the type to be bustled up early.

“We’ve been trying to ride him quiet four or five times before,” he said.

“We’ve told Shafrizal (Saleh) on a number of occasions to ride him quiet. Each time, he was too keen early and ended up wide.

“Circumstances didn’t pan out, but today, we were able to get him in behind horses. Vlad switched him off and he relaxed well before running out an impressive winner.”

From Day 1, Clements held the Inglis 2020 Classic Yearling Sale A$105,000 ($101,000) purchase in high esteem.

But the frustrating attempts at hold-up runs, coupled with his coltish manners, were stunting his full potential.

“We saw some ability in Australia. We raced him as a colt first, but he was too keen,” recalled Clements.

“It’s only after his third run when he ran fourth to Alqantur that we gelded him.

“We always saw him as a Three-Year-Old contender. But, because he was so coltish, we couldn’t get him to run as we wanted. It hasn’t worked out at all.

“Besides, we felt the Three-Year-Old races were on the short side for him. Vlad told me after the race that he has no doubt he’ll become a 2,000m horse.”

Even if the four-time Singapore champion jockey was at his maiden steer on Mariana Trench, who is named after the world’s deepest oceanic trench, he sure rode him like a stayer in the making.

After giving his mount a nice breather in the well strung-out field, Duric waited for the half-mile mark to get on his bike.

The outcome was a foregone conclusion as soon as they drew on level terms with Knight Command (Bernardo Pinheiro) at the top of the straight. 

A short, sharp and brilliant burst from the engine, followed by natural momentum, then took care of the rest.

Mariana Trench ran his rivals ragged, relegating Street Of Dreams (Mohd Zaki) to second place, 21/2 lengths away. 

Dragon Tycoon (Blake Shinn) was third, 31/4 lengths away. 

The winning time was 1min 35.39sec for the 1,600m on the long course.

Duric deflected all the credit to Team Clements.

“On his form, he was a bit one-paced. It was good to ride him quiet,” said the Australian hoop.

“I was never worried where I was. It is the long course and I knew I would get clear running.

“He quickened up good, but was very green when he hit the front. 

“He’s still a young horse. Going forward, with more racing, the better he’ll get.

“It was a great call from the trainer, Chopsy (assistant trainer Michael White) and the owners to ride him quiet. I’m just the rider and I just had to get the job done.”