Monday, 26 March 2012
: Trainer Michael Freedman's super run with three-year-olds gained further momentum when former top juvenile Mr Big sprang back to winning ways on Sunday.
| Mr Big|
Photo by Singapore Turf Club
The Elusive Quality three-year-old has not scored since January 8 when he rang up his fifth win, but he still did not finish out of the placings in his three subsequent starts.
With no weight (50kg) on his back, the former Magic Millions Juvenile Champion winner looked the goods in the $125,000 Open Class race over 1100m on Polytrack, though he had to overcome his outermost alley in the nine-horse field.
Punters still kept the faith in Freedman's charge by sending him as the even-money favourite and he duly delivered by breaking the course record for good measure.
After sitting outside leader race-leader Happy Everybody
(Greg Cheyne) from the jump, Mr Big
(Stephen Baster) went for broke upon straightening with only Finderskeepers
able to muster enough speed to stay in touch and have a last crack inside the last 200m.
Mr Big kept digging deep on the inside and was able to hold off the Mark Walker-trained galloper's challenge by a neck on the line to stop the clock at 1min 4.64secs, 0.03 second quicker than the previous record jointly-held by Speedy Cat
Freedman, who has a plethora of other classy three-year-olds such as Super Easy
, had always been confident of the O&T Stable-owned sprinter's ability to bounce back but did get a bit toey after the race was delayed by 1 ¼ hours due to the heavy rain that had left lots of surface water sitting on the Polytrack. The official level of rainfall recorded was 65mm of rain after Race 8.
“It took a while, but thank goodness he's won,” said the Australian conditioner. “I had a chat with Steve before the race and from that draw, as he had a few runners on his inside who liked to be on the pace, we thought it would be best to get him up there early.
“Normally he begins well, though I know he was a bit slow at his last start, and he was able to more or less settle in his customary role of racing handy.
“He's such a genuine horse and never gave up all the way to the line.”
Freedman, who leaves for Dubai on Tuesday to watch Better Be The One
race in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) on March 31, said Mr Big would more likely bypass the first Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m) next Friday and focus on the Group 3 Kranji Sprint (1200m) on April 8 instead.
“I will see how he pulls up and discuss with the owners, but it is highly unlikely he will go for the first Leg of the 3YO series, especially after he ran in record time today,” said Freedman.
“The Kranji Sprint is an option but we will play it by ear. I've always thought he was not a one-dimensional horse and would run out 1400m if he gets cover.
“That's why I won't rule out the 2nd Leg of the 3YO Series (Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic over 1400m on April 22). There could be one more string to his bow.”
Baster said big-hearted horses like Mr Big were a sheer delight to ride.
“I was worried they would cancel the race, but luckily it went on,” said the Australian jockey.
“I was happy where he was as he was one off the fence and off the water. He put in a tough effort – he just doesn't like to get beaten.
“I thought we would miss out when the other horse came up but he just kept sticking his neck out.
“He wasn't champion two-year-old for nothing. He's all class and horses like these are a real treat to ride.”
Baster, who scored earlier with Good Towkay
(Race 3) then went on to boot home his first Kranji treble in the last race, a $55,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1200m on Polytrack, with the Brian Dean-trained Movie Goer
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