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Ong’s century after super convincing win

Third-time lucky Super Convince brings up first milestone for young Singapore trainer

After coming off a cracking treble that vaulted him to 99 winners last week, Jason Ong clearly likes to strike the iron while it is hot.

The young Singapore trainer has wasted no time in hitting the century at the very next meeting on Saturday with Super Convince in Race 2, the $75,000 Minister 2021 Stakes Restricted Maiden (1,400m).

But probably too busy looking for the next winner, Ong did not even realise his very first training milestone had snuck up on him.

It could even have come up one race earlier, but favourite See Yah lost by a nostril to God’s Gift in the opener of the bumper 12-race Kranji Mile programme.

“I had no idea I had won my 100th race until the Singapore Turf Club reporter Sharon Zhang told me,” said the Australian-trained Ong.

“See Yah was nearly the one, but I didn’t know about that then. It’s all good, though, we got there in the end.

“It feels pretty special, and it’s even more special it came for one of my biggest supporters from Day 1, the TTS Stable.”

It was three years and eight months ago that Ong made a fairytale start to his career with Sothistheone (later renamed as Hosayliao) on Sept 20, 2019.

To some, it may feel like yesterday, but Kranji’s latest 100-club member said that the admission got dragged out a little.

“It took a while to get there because we’ve been racing once a week for a while now,” he said in allusion to the downsized racing calendar due to Covid-19.

“But we still have horses in our stables and it’s very encouraging to have finally got to that milestone.”

A first feature winner might be the next box on the to-do list for Ong, whose hunger to do well is mirrored by the recent purchase of eight unraced two-year-olds.

But he should already be commended for a mini-landmark of sorts – the gong of the best local trainer when fifth on 33 winners in 2022.

With a consistent influx of winners from Day 1, Ong is again holding sway among his homegrown peers this season.

He sits in fourth place on 16 winners, only four off leader Michael Clements, and one off Tim Fitzsimmons and Stephen Gray.

While he may not be blessed with the same armoury as Clements or Fitzsimmons, new blood like Super Convince can help him poke around the Top Five.

“I bought him for A$80,000 (S$71,500) as a two-year-old at the Inglis Ready2Race Sale in 2021. I got him from the Regal Farm NZ, with whom I’ve had a very good association,” said Bruce Marsh’s former assistant trainer.

“His first prep did not go well, though. He was immature and took a while to acclimatise. He’s going really well now, and today, he appreciated the step-up to 1,400m.

“I didn’t really want to change too much from his racing pattern. In his previous runs when he sat back, he had too much ground to make up.”

After two fairly low-key starts, the Super One three-year-old showed his true colours on Saturday.

From his sticky gate in barrier No. 10, he was anchored back at the rear but took closer order when peeled three wide from the 800m.

As he kept building up for A’Isisuhairi Kasim, the $34 chance eventually let down nicely when set alight inside the last 200m.

Runner-up at his last start, Creative Dreams (Daniel Moor) had to play bridesmaid again, beaten by ½-length.

Shihab (Manoel Nunes) stuck on for third place, another 2¼ lengths away, but never posed a real threat.

The winning time was 1min 22.57sec for the 1,400m on the short course.

A’Isisuhairi, known as Harry at Kranji, will now feature twice among Ong’s memorabilia. He was also Sothistheone’s rider.

“Harry also rode him a treat. I told him to be patient, wherever he’s comfortable, and nurse him to make sure he can make the trip,” said an appreciative Ong of his “double milestone” rider.,

“I’m confident this horse can go even further, but as he’s still a bit raw and looking around, I’ll take my time with him.

“We’ll see how he pulls up first.”

A’Isisuhairi, who also partnered Super Convince to his last-start closing fifth in a Restricted Maiden Polytrack sprint, concurred about the trip, even if stamina may not be in the genes on the paternal side.

Super One was a former Singapore juvenile champion sprinter, who was unbeaten in four starts between 1,100m and 1,200m.

“I believe he can get over a bit more ground. The way he moves, I won’t say he’s a big strider, but he moves nicely for his size,” said the Malaysian hoop.

“He carries himself nicely for such a big boy. The mile will be his distance, too, but 1,400m is nice for him, he can relax, that’s the main thing.”