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Owners' long wait not in Vain

Mighty Vain finally breaks the duck at his 21st Kranji start for Toast Trusts & J. Ho Stable

Patience is a virtue in racing, with Mighty Vain’s first salute another case in point on Saturday.

In 20 previous starts, the Australian-bred five-year-old son of Safeguard had never found the line.

But he did give glimpses of ability with nine placings, mostly over distances between 1,400m and 1,600m.

The ordinary couple of runs since returning from a bleeding attack last November might not have given owners Toast Trusts & J. Ho Stable and trainer Stephen Crutchley plenty to cheer about.

But his last barrier trial two Thursdays ago was encouraging.

Holding the fence throughout, Mighty Vain ambled to second place under a firm hold from Saturday’s race-rider Ronnie Stewart, while Gold Ten Sixty-One had to be hard-pushed by Manoel Nunes to pass him for the win.

As it turned out, Gold Ten Sixty-One romped to an easy win in the last race, albeit under driving rain.

The connections’ faith in Mighty Vain, an eye-catching chestnut with four long white socks and prominent blaze, was not to be left unrewarded in Saturday’s $20,000 Open Maiden race over 1,400m.

Tracking up in an ideal rail-hugging spot among the clump of early leaders, the $27 chance had only the race-leader Lim’s Puncak Jaya (Danny Beasley) to gun down when he was switched into clear galloping room in the home straight.

Lim’s Puncak Jaya did not surrender all that meekly when collared.

But, under Stewart’s urgings, Mighty Vain slowly but surely gained the ascendancy to win with half a length to spare.

Kranji Jewel (Jake Bayliss) finished third, two lengths away. 

The winning time was 1min 23.03sec for the 1,400m on the Short Course A.

That fifth Stewart winner just adds to the traction that the lightweight Australian jockey has gained since breaking the deadlock with Charger at his seventh Singapore meeting on April 30. 

Aside from a one-day cameo in 2017, the triple Singapore Gold Cup-winning jockey is at his first long-term Singapore stint in eight years.

“It’s nice to get another winner on the board,” he said.

“I’ve done a fair bit of work on this horse. He won a nice race, he was a deserving winner after he had some issues (bleeding).

“It was a nice training performance from Stephen.”

The first-season New Zealand-born trainer was ringing up his fourth winner at Kranji, the second consecutive one in Stewart’s able hands, after Charger.

“I’m very happy this horse won. Ronnie rode him well, and we got the right result,” said Crutchley.

“We were hoping he would improve today after he trialled so well last week. I expected a good run from him today.

“Let’s hope he can win some more races for us.”

After opening his win account, Mighty Vain has taken his stakes earnings to the $90,000 mark for his long-suffering owners.

Rahotu, the horse who garnered so much support on debut but was scratched and then flopped at his postponed debut, has, on the other hand, again disappointed connections. 

Urged forward from his awkward alley to settle into second on Lim’s Puncak Jaya’s outside, the Irish-bred five-year-old was again as green as grass with his high head carriage when he cornered for the judge.

The Te Akau Racing Stable-owned and Donna Logan-trained galloper then faded into seventh place, about seven lengths off the winner.