Nova Vocal bounces back
Tongue tie does the trick but trainer believes the horse can be a lot better with a wind operation
A tongue tie did the trick for Nova Vocal on Sunday, but the horse eventually needs an operation for his wind issues.
This was two-time Singapore champion trainer Mark Walker's assessment, after the Nova Racing Stable's four-year-old Irish-bred's comeback victory in the $70,000 Class 3 race over the Polytrack 1,100m.
The bay gelding was previously trained by James Peters and had three wins and seven placings from 13 starts.
Walker took over in the middle of this year and Nova Vocal finished seventh and eighth in two similar Class 3 events over 1,100m and 1,200m on the Polytrack before Sunday's assignment.
He drew gates 12 and 10 and raced wide in midfield in both races.
Drawn pole position on Sunday, Nova Vocal asserted the gate speed of his earlier races to hunt trainer Lee Freedman's smart debut winner Excelling, who had to work across from barrier 9.
Two-time Singapore champion jockey Vlad Duric then urged Nova Vocal to go after the leader turning for home and surprising managed to get the upper hand easily shortly after straightening.
From then, it was game over. Even though Sir Isaac, Flak Jacket and Sacred Magic were letting down strongly at the business-end of the race, they had to be contented for second, third and fourth respectively.
Nova Vocal clocked 1min 05.47sec for the 1,100m race.
Walker said Nova Vocal was a bit of a difficult horse to train. He decided on the tongue tie because the horse was making noises at trackwork.
"I actually think he's going a little bit in the wind, makes a bit of noise at trackwork, so I put the tongue tie on to see how he goes," said the New Zealander.
"But he may down the track be a horse who needs a wind op, unfortunately.
"His last two runs for us, he drew wide barriers but he came across in good order from James. But I tend to think, as I say, he could be a lot better with a wind op. I'll talk to the owners."
Duric reckoned he was lucky to get a nice trail behind fellow Australian jockey Michael Rodd's mount, Excelling, who was the raging $9 favourite.
He also felt surgery to clear the wind is the way to go for Nova Vocal.
"He's a genuine Class 3 horse. Michael's horse was the one to beat but I was fortunate enough to be able to worry him a bit. Mine's a young horse and I was mindful of that.
"I tried to take control of the race. He also makes a bit of a noise, so he might need a wind op later. He was getting a bit tired, you know, and I really made him earn his money but he's good."