Wassergeist bounces back over 1,200m, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Wassergeist bounces back over 1,200m

Good judgment and tactical tweak pay off for trainer Shane Baertschiger's Melbourne import

You learn from mistakes and the rewards will come your way.

Trainer Shane Baertschiger knew where he erred with Wassergeist and recouped the losses at Kranji on Friday night, when his Melbourne import Wassergeist bounced back to the winner's enclosure in the $70,000 Class 3 race over 1,200m on the Long Course B.

After a smart debut win in a Class 4 event over 1,200m on turf on June 21, Wassergeist was a beaten $12 favourite at his next start, on the Polytrack over 1,200m on July 19. He ran eighth behind Poly specialist Revolution.

Then, on Aug 11, the Fastnet Rock five-year-old disappointed in another Class 3 race over 1,400m on turf. He went too quick and compounded. He was eighth behind Real Success.

Putting a line through the Polytrack and 1,400m turf runs, Baertschiger wisely brought Wassergeist back to 1,200m on turf.

The tweaking of racing tactics - to save energy for the run home instead of charging to the front- also paid a part in the gelding's return to victory on Friday night.

Baertschiger, who owns Wassergeist himself, told his stable jockey and the gelding's regular partner, John Powell, to just allow his mount to drop back where he was comfortable this time around.

It hit paydirt.

After dodging the early speedmap in the small eight-horse field, Wassergeist, which means water ghost in German, came floating menacingly on the outside as he cornered for the run to the judge.

Pacemaker Elise, who had tried to make all the running , was a spent force at the 400m mark. He was quickly gobbled up by Charger and So You Too, who jumped as the $14 favourite from a last-minute plunge.

Also chiming in was Wassergeist, who though rather tradesman in his action, came wearing down the leading pair with every stride to eventually upstage So You Too by three-quarter lengths.

Charger was third, just a nose away.

The winning time was 1min 09.78sec.

"Second-up on Polytrack didn't suit him and he worked too hard at his last start," said Baertschiger, who is now two winners short of his 400th win at Kranji since taking over his father Don in 2012.

"I dropped him back and the long course suits him. It was a small field but competitive, even if he didn't beat a hell of a lot tonight."

Baertschiger will still give his charge another attempt over 1,400m.

"He's a bit of a thinker. I'll stick around this grade and look for a 1,400m race for him," he said.

Powell thought he might have cut the ribbons a tad too soon, but was glad the result went their way when it mattered.

"We didn't ride him right at his last start and he failed on the Polytrack," said the Australian jockey.

"We went forward and he went too quick. Tonight, Shane told me to ride him where he is happy.

"I actually didn't want to get there too early. I'll probably wait a bit longer next time."

With that second win, Wassergeist, a two-time winner in Melbourne (1,200m and 1,400m), when trained by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, has taken his prize money past the $65,000 mark for Baertschiger.