Price doesn't matter, luck does
Expensive import Julius Caesar and cheap buy Casing Royal salute one race apart
One is very expensive and the other bought for a song, but they both won all the same, one race apart at Kranji yesterday.
Debut runner-up JULIUS CAESAR, who cost A$750,000 (S$789,000) as a yearling, went one better in Race 2 and, a race later, $62 outsider CASING ROYAL, who cost only NZ$1,000 (S$980), picked up his sixth victory from 23 starts.
Owned by China Horse Club and trained by James Peters, Julius Caesar started well but allowed $507 outsider Dayuan to lead in the $35,000 Maiden event over the Polytrack 1,200m.
Leading jockey Vlad Duric took the even-money favourite to the lead turning for home and it was all over bar the shouting. Julius Caesar scampered to a two-length victory over the late-closing One Kinabalu.
Although the three-year-old colt won on the alternate track, Duric said Julius Caesar was not quite a Polytrack horse and would be better over 1,400m and further on turf.
Trainer Alwin Tan's Casing Royal had a harder time in the $80,000 Kranji Stakes C event over the Poly 1,600m.
Ridden by Oscar Chavez, the four-year-old moved up from midfield and wide to outduel The Capital by a neck and take his prize money to about $290,000 for Royal Stable.
With his New Zealand-bred's form back, Tan is now looking at the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge, which kicks off with the Group 2 Stewards' Cup over 1,400m on May 28.
The series will be followed by the Group 1 Patron's Bowl over 1,600m on June 18 and finally the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby over 2,000m on July 9.
Although big money could get deep-pocket owners horses with good bloodlines but, with luck, owners could also get bargain buys with ability.
A classic example is that of the differing fate of Veandercross and Snaafi Dancer.
Veandercross was bought with his mother as a foal-at-foot by full-time Wanganui teacher and hobby trainer Chris Turner for just NZ$1,000.
Like 1983 Melbourne Cup winner Kiwi, who cost just as much, his rags-to-riches story became one of the most fascinating tales of the turf.
In all, Veandercross had 40 starts in the early 1990s for 15 wins, eight at Group 1 level, and earned A$2.6 million in stakes.
Then there was this case of Snaafi Dancer, who was the first yearling to sell for more than US$10 million (S$14 million) at the 1983 Keeneland Select Sale in America. Sheikh Mohammed's Aston Upthorpe Stud won the bid at US$10.2 million.
Although he had the blueblood, Snaafi Dancer was a disappointment in training and didn't make it to the racetrack. The next step was to send him to stud. But he failed in that aspect, too, because he had fertility issues.
So, it looks like luck, more than anything else, plays a big part in horse-racing. For a song, one can also get a champion.