Quarter Back exacts revenge
He turns the tables on Savvy Command with a weight turnaround and better luck in the running
With a slight weight turnaround and better luck, Quarter Back turned the tables on his conqueror Savvy Command in the $70,000 Class 3 race over 1,400m on turf on Saturday.
When they last met on May 22, Savvy Command carried 31/2kg lighter than Quarter Back when winning by 11/4 lengths over the same course and distance in the same class.
This time, conceding only 2kg with the rise in handicap, he found no answer to Quarter Back's pulverising finish and went down by 11/2 lengths.
While Savvy Command had the same rider, apprentice Jerlyn Seow, Quarter Back had a new rider, Juan Paul van der Merwe, who replaced the suspended Shafrizal Saleh.
Van der Merwe must be credited for riding a gem of a race.
A six-year-old Japanese-bred prepared by champion trainer Michael Clements, Quarter Back dropped to the rear after jumping from barrier one.
But, by the halfway mark, van der Merwe had already tucked in behind the speed, looking all poised to be turned loose once the gaps came.
It was precisely the lack of galloping room that cost the horse the preceding race and Shafrizal a one-day suspension for careless riding.
But van der Merwe ensured there was no trouble this time even if three horses - Special King (Koh Teck Huat), stablemate Karisto (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin) and Savvy Command had walled him in at the 400m mark.
Once the South African lightweight jockey found some room to his offside, he shifted across heels in that direction. Quarter Back then executed the rest to perfection.
Showing his customary turn of foot, Quarter Back darted to the post a convincing victory in 1min 23.15sec.
Special King, the least-backed runner at $667 for win, dug deep to hold on for third, a neck away. He paid a thumping $149 for a place.
Karisto looked the biggest threat among the leading trio at the 300m mark, but was a one-pacer in the end to finish fourth, a short head away.
The fast-finishing Makanani, the 2019 Group 1 Raffles Cup winner, was another short head away in fifth. He had Joseph See aboard.
Clements said that with a clearer run, Quarter Back should have won his previous run. But he was happy that his charge exacted revenge on Savvy Command this time round.
"He didn't have much luck at his last start," said the reigning Singapore champion.
"He really appreciates coming back down in class and the distance. He was spot-on today.
"He had a good barrier and had the run of the race. JP got him in a good position and there was a lot of space on the outside.
"Last time, he couldn't come through. He could have won without the traffic problems."
Van der Merwe does not ride often for Clements, even if his first Kranji winner came aboard Loving You for the Zimbabwe-born trainer in 2019.
His other wins were a double on Pattaya and a dominant win on Tuesday.
With Shafrizal still suspended from another careless- riding suspension on Prodigal, Clements made the right choice with van der Merwe.
"JP won for us a few times, like Tuesday this year," said Clements. "He couldn't have ridden Quarter Back any better."
With that seventh win from 30 starts, Quarter Back has brought his prize money to nearly $350,000.
The bulk of it was for his former Thai owner, Falcon Racing Stable.
Saturday's win was his first for his new outfit, Kajorn Petch Racing No. 9 Stable, which is also Thai-based.