Monday, 4 June 2012
: Class performer Gingerbread Man is on track to repeat his Two and Three-Year-Old Horse of the Year honours when he took out the $300,000 Group 2 Stewards' Cup over 1400m on Sunday.
| Gingerbread Man|
Photo by Singapore Turf Club
Sent out the $9 favourite, Gingerbread Man
, ridden by Opie Bosson, scored a three-quarter length victory over Rafaga
(Saimee Jumaat) with Hammer Down
(Ivaldo Santana) a half-length away third.
Gingerbread Man was awarded Champion Two-Year-Old honours after winning the Group 2 Magic Millions Juvenile Championship in 2010 and last year completed a clean-sweep of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, culminating in his win in the Singapore Guineas which in turn saw him capture the Champion Three-Year-Old award.
The Stewards' Cup kicked off the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge which also comprises the Group 1 Patron's Bowl over 1600m on June 24 and the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby over 2000m on July 15 and a clean-sweep of the three races is sure to see the entire claim Champion Four-Year-Old honours as well.
Gingerbread Man has been the standout performer of his age group each season and trainer Bruce Marsh is eagerly awaiting the final two legs of the Four-Year-Old Challenge.
Bosson had Gingerbread Man perfectly positioned in the run in fifth spot on the fence coming to the turn and bided his time early in the straight before angling into the clear.Arowana Dot Com
(Jose Verenzuela) led the way over Nandowra
(Greg Cheyne) with Dynasty Knight
(Alan Ng) and Hammer Down in close attendance.
Bosson surged to the lead on Gingerbread Man passing the 200m mark but his work was far from finished as Rafaga, Hammer Down and Chase Me were all trying their hardest to run him down.
The win was a training triumph for Marsh who has battled feet problems with Gingerbread Man following his aborted trip to Dubai after finishing down the track at Meydan on March 1.
Gingerbread Man's feet were in poor condition after returning from Dubai and Marsh and his team was on an uphill battle to get him ready in time for the Four-Year-Old Challenge.
“This is the fittest he has been for sometime,” said Marsh. “He had quite a lot of problems following Dubai but he looks after and heals himself.
“His feet were just shocking when he got back from Dubai. I've got to thank our blacksmith for the work he's done on the horse to get him back to the races.
“It was a real pressure cooker job to have him ready for his first-up run and then there was only two weeks to get him ready for this race.
“If ever there was a case for a horse to be beaten by the second-up syndrome then today was the day.
“We've now got three weeks to have him right for the Patron's Bowl which is just ideal.
“He's going to get a great deal of improvement from this run and I'm sure there will be even more improvement after that.
“It's onwards and upwards to the Patron's Bowl and then the Derby and 100% I can't wait for those races.”
Bosson also noted there was still more improvement to come from Gingerbread Man in an ominous warning to rivals in the lead-up to the Patron's Bowl and the Derby.
“Bruce has done an amazing job with this horse,” said Bosson. “In the last few weeks there has been a lot of improvement in him.
“I've got so much confidence in the horse and Bruce is such a great conditioner.
“What makes this horse so good is that he relaxes so well in his races no matter what. He can put himself into the race and just switch off.”
Bosson said he was mindful of not getting to the front too soon on Gingerbread Man as the entire likes to wait for opposition to catch up.
“He gets to the front and half waits for them to catch up to him,” said Bosson. “Once he can hear them chasing he then gets going again.
“In that respect he's a better chaser but we had a lovely run in the race today and I thought the two hardest to beat were the ones in front of me.
“Once he got past them I was so confident, but I still had to make sure he put in all the way to the line.”
from the Hurricane Sky
, Gingerbread Man landed his 11th victory from 21 starts with a further seven minor placings and took his stake-earnings past the $1.3 million mark for the Gingerbread Stable.
Saimee was mightily happy with Rafaga's second place and said that short of landing the big prize, losing at the hands of Gingerbread Man could not have been a better result.
“It was a huge run. Like Gingerbread Man, he (Rafaga) does not like to hit the lead too early,” said Saimee. “That was why I waited for as long as I could, but Gingerbread Man is such a class horse.
“My horse gave 100% but you can't catch the Gingerbread Man - he's too slippery!"