Vorster makes hay while the sun shines
Adelaide-bound jockey enjoys a Sunday double with Super Denman and Stunning Cat, with hope for more before his departure
Outgoing Kranji-based expatriate jockey Barend Vorster enjoyed a good day at the office on Sunday, with a double and hopes to ride a few more winners before he relocates to Adelaide in South Australia.
The South African got on the winner's rostrum in Race 1 in the nine-race card aboard the Ricardo Le Grange-trained Super Denman and brought up a double seven races later on the Shane Baertschiger-trained Stunning Cat.
In a surprise announcement last week, the 42-year-old South African said that, after 15 years at Kranji, he was moving to Adelaide next month to continue his riding career as stable jockey to Tony McEvoy.
"I've got a bit more time to hopefully ride a few more winners here," he said, after winning on Stunning Cat.
"It's great to ride a winner for Shane today. His old man (former Kranji-based trainer Don Baertschiger) and himself have been great supporters of mine in Singapore.
"I won on this horse early on in his career (on debut). He had a break and has not been quite himself since.
"He can look around a bit, but once he follows another horse, he's quite genuine. We followed the right horse today, and at the 200m when I pulled him out, he let down nicely."
A change in racing pattern proved to be the winning formula for the former Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge Series contender Stunning Cat.
Baertschiger said a first attempt at riding the son of Smart Missile negative at his last start was the trigger.
Stunning Cat flashed home from near last to run a smack-up fourth to Sierra Conqueror in a Class 3 Division 2 race over the Polytrack 1,000m on Dec 7.
With Sunday's $70,000 Kranji Stakes C Division 1 race being over 1,200m on turf, the Australian felt that waiting tactics would suit even better.
Settled in the second half of the 12-horse field in eighth spot, Stunning Cat began his run from the 600m mark to loom as a big threat on the outside at the 400m pole.
Elise (Matthew Kellady) and Lim's Shot (Troy See) were proving hard to reel in, but under Vorster's hard riding, the $29 chance kept working home solidly to eventually gain the ascendancy and won by 13/4 lengths.
The favourite Made In Russia (Daniel Moor) had not helped his cause when he missed the start by a fraction. He slowly improved to sixth place as he railed through from his pole-position barrier but his bid to give 2018 champion trainer Lee Freedman his 2019 opener didn't succeed in the end.
Blinkered for the first time, he looked a little shy to charge through between runners in the last 200m, but stuck on okay to take deny Lim's Shot of second place by a mere nose.
The winning time was 1min 10.89sec for the 1,200m on the Long Course B.
"We've learned more about him from his last start," said Baertschiger of Stunning Cat.
"We used to race him up on the speed, but he didn't quite finish it off. There was a fast pace at his last start, we switched him around and he flew home.
"The 1,000m was too short to ride him cold, but today the 1,200m was perfect. I think he'll get over a mile."
Stunning Cat has taken his record to three wins and one third from 10 starts for stakes money that has now exceeded the $110,000 mark for Stunning Stable.