Yulong Edition gains consolation win
Fourth Singapore Gold Cup reserve scores emphatic all-the-way victory in Kranji Stakes C event over similar 2,000m trip
Quite often, an emergency acceptor ruled out from a capacity feature-race would gain a consolation victory in an alternate race against weaker opposition.
It happened for Irish-bred stayer Yulong Edition, who gave his connections some solace for missing out on the $1 million Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup on Sunday.
The last of four reserves in the Gold Cup was also handicapped in the $70,000 Kranji Stakes C event over the same 2,000m Gold Cup trip, and he simply blew his rivals away with a strong front-running effort with 4kg-claiming apprentice jockey M Nizar astride.
Dicton, the third Gold Cup reserve, was scratched from the alternate race, while second reserve Black Jade was a non-acceptor. First reserve Claudia's Beauty was entered solely for the Gold Cup race.
Yulong Edition's 33/4-length victory served up the usual "what if" question had he had run in the Gold Cup.
You see, the Mark Walker-trained four-year-old clocked a faster time than the Gold Cup winner four races later. He registered 2min 00.48sec, compared to Mr Clint's 2min 01.02sec.
For Yulong Edition's part-owner Eric Koh, it was still a success celebrated in its own right.
"That's great. The apprentice jockey rode him well, and he also ran (a good) time," said Koh, whose Team Cheval Stable races the four-year-old son of Makfi in partnership with Chinese owner Yu Long Stable.
Nizar, trainer Saimee Jumaat's up-and-coming apprentice jockey, was also over the moon that he had lived up to trainer Walker's trust.
He was also booked for the Gold Cup ride, but thought the non-starter status was a blessing in disguise.
"He was the fourth emergency. I knew he wouldn't get into the Gold Cup, even if it would have been amazing if I had a ride in the Gold Cup," said Nizar.
"That race was easier to win, but I still had to win it. All I did was listen to Mr Walker's instructions - let him lead comfortably, run relaxed in the first 1,000m and, at the 800m, let him roll.
"A big thank you to Mr Walker for the opportunity. I'm really glad and happy I won. With luck and hard work, the results follow."
Hard work was exactly what the New Zealand mentor wanted to recognise when he picked out Nizar for the steering duties on a horse he had never ridden before.
"Nizar is a great kid. He just listens to instructions. He helps me out at the stables when I'm short of riders," said the leading trainer, who is all poised to pick up a third title with his tally having now hit the 73-winner mark. He is 17 clear of Michael Clements.
"I like to reward these young fellows as they have limited opportunities with so many great riders around.
"I told him to use him up early to find the lead, let him breathe and run relaxed in the first 1,000m down the back. As he is a one-paced horse, I told him to just go in the last 800m.
"He's a bit funny in the gates, but, once he jumped out well today, I knew he'd be a good chance.
"Our starters John Pepe and Damien Kinninmont do a great job with these horses."
Yulong Edition, who scored his previous three wins in identical front-running fashion, enjoyed an uncontested lead before suddenly giving the slip at the 800m mark.
It was evident that there was no catching the runaway leader in the straight.
Irving Lipschitz (Vlad Duric) and Mr Dujardin (William Pike) bravely tried to close the gap, but it was already a lost cause with 100m to go, even if Yulong Edition did start to noticeably lower his neck in the shadows of the winning post.
A two-time winner (1,610m and 2,019m) in the UK, Yulong Edition bolted in by 33/4 lengths from Irving Lipschitz.
He has now taken his local record to four wins and one third from 10 starts for stakes earnings of around $160,000.