What a Ferocious burst of speed
Walker rates IRT Juvenile Stakes winner the best two-year-old in his stable
Even though it was his first start, the money poured in. That showed he had ability and stable confidence was high.
For those who jumped on the FEROCIOUS bandwagon in the $90,000 IRT Juvenile Stakes, the penultimate leg of the six-race Singapore Golden Horseshoe Series for two-year-olds, they were rewarded with a juicy $18 win payout.
The Mark Walker-trained Australian-bred did give his backers some anxious moments by being slow off the mark, but the acceleration he produced in the final 150m certainly brought quick relief for them.
No doubt, it was a top ride by jockey R Shafiq, who even earned accolades from Walker.
Ferocious, a NZ$120,000 (S$121,000) purchase, was the second-last to leave the gates.
The Ricardo Le Grange-trained Mokastar, who overtook Ferocious as the favourite at $17, started best but had to use up some energy to cross in from his wide barrier to the front.
Newcomer Queen Of Queens then scooted to the lead, with first-leg winner Charger hounding the Leslie Khoo-trained filly. Mokastar was next, a bit wide. Ferocious had only Special Luck behind him in the 13-horse field.
Queen Of Queens led into the long straight. Charger and Mokastar cruised around her. Ferocious was still behind and hit a brick wall. But, luckily, the gap came and Shafiq grabbed it.
Charger and Mokastar drew away and were well clear, but with 150m left to run, Ferocious charged past in between them to win going away by two-and-a-quarter lengths. Charger, trained by JOhn O'Hara, beat Mokastar by a head for second.
Ferocious clocked 1min 10.51sec for the 1,200m trip.
Walker credited Shafiq for a patient ride and was impressed by Ferocious' powerful burst.
"First time on turf, after training him on the Polytrack, is always a bit of a question mark and, obviously, he was a bit slow out of the gates than I thought he probably would be," said the 2015 champion and this season's leading trainer.
"A lovely ride by Shafiq. He didn't panic, you know, bided his time and the gap came, and he accelerated like a really nice horse."
When asked by race presenter Matthew Jones if Ferocious was his best two-year-old, Walker replied in the affirmative.
"Yeah. He was a bit handful as a colt and we gelded him . He's just a really nice horse, you know. Hopefully, he holds together for two weeks, there's a pretty nice race coming up."
Walker was referring to the series' final leg, the Group 2 $325,000 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe over 1,200m on turf on July 7.
Shafiq reckoned Ferocious was mature for a juvenile.
"Although he's a two-year-old, he acted like an older horse, you know, like a mature horse. He knew what he was doing. I didn't do much on him," he said.
"At the start, he made me worried. He jumped a bit slow, but I knew it was over the long course. At the first turn, they travelled three-four wide and it was not easy, especially for two-year-olds.
"I made the decision to take the short cut and got a bit of luck in the straight. I saw a bit of daylight and he kept going and going. Just too good tonight."