See ends season with Stakes win
Maximus gives trainer Alwin Tan back-to-back wins in Colonial Chief Stakes
Twenty-nine years ago, a very good horse from Singapore went to Hong Kong to take on the cream of the crop in the Hong Kong Invitation Cup.
His name was Colonial Chief.
Trained by the late great Ivan Allan, the "Chief" was ridden by then Hong Kong's top jockey Tony Cruz.
The "home team" had an outstanding hope in Top Grade and his fans backed him to the hilt.
As the race panned out, Colonial Chief and Top Grade battled it out over the final stretch with the Singapore horse ridden by the Hong Kong hoop winning by a shorthead.
Yesterday, with the "Internationals" being run in Hong Kong, at Kranji, Maximus triumphed in the feature named after the "Chief".
And like Colonial Chief in 1989, he did it by battling and beating the favourite over the final stretch.
Will the Alwin Tan-trained galloper go on to greater things? Like Colonial Chief, perhaps? I don't see why not.
Racing does not linger on its fallen so let's get right down to the good part. The winning part.
So, kudos to Maximus.
Top apprentice jockey Troy See had allowed the chestnut time to find his balance before sending him on strongly from the 800m mark.
With Forever Young sacrificed at the altar of pacemaking, the $16 second favourite was still fourth with 300m to go.
For those hanging over the railings, they could hear the smack of the whips and the thud, thud of the hooves.
And, from that vantage point, they would also have seen the anguish on the faces of the jockeys when See drove Maximus to tackle the favourite Circuit Land, who had scooted away. From then it was a two-horse race.
With the whip in his right hand, See matched Olivier Placais for vigour.
Under a furlong to go and it was still anybody's race. But over the concluding 50m, it was "job done" for See and Maximus.
They had methodically broken the heart and burnt the lungs of Circuit Land.
The margin was half a length, with almost three lengths to the third horse, Distinctive Darci.
Maximus may not be going to Hollywood anytime soon, but yesterday in the north of Singapore, he was the star.
While on the subject of stars, we cannot end the season without mentioning Erasmus Aslam.
The local jockey ended the season with a bang, taking a treble yesterday.
The 41-year-old rider has finally found his niche and, through sheer hard work, is beginning to reap in the rewards.
He posted his first winner of the day by making the most on a pick-up ride.
Taking over from apprentice AK Lim, who had stood down his assignments, Aslam drove Satellite Kingdom to a good win in Race 3 - coming home from a midfield spot to beat the lot.
He was on a winner two races later when $27 hope Shahbaa beat the favourite Solo Run. Then, in the eighth, he was presented with another pick-up ride and he made the most of the opportunity, driving Satellite Warrior hard to win handsomely.
We wish Aslam all the best in the season to come.