Monday, 16 July 2012
: The Open race for two-year-olds, the $65,000 Hello Argentina Stakes over 1200m saw a boilover result when $224 roughie Flag Of Command landed the top prize.
| Flag Of Command|
Photo by Singapore Turf Club
Despite showing some gate speed at his two barrier trials, the unraced gelding by little-known Perth sire Scopaciri
was given a wide berth by most punters after he drew the second-worst barrier in No 13.
But Brazilian jockey Ivaldo Santana produced a gem of a ride when he bounced the Mok Zhan Lun-trained newcomer out like a flash to vie for the lead, which he was able to secure after a tussle with Oasis Spur
(Saifudin Ismail).Flag Of Command
settled into his leading role rather easily to swing for home as the one to run down, but the better fancies like One Smart Cat
(John Powell) and Golden Sand Steed
(Opie Bosson) were both expected to descend on him.
But to everybody's surprise, Flag Of Command did not buckle and continued to accelerate though he was inclined to hang out under pressure to score a rather comfortable two-length win from Golden Sand Steed with One Smart Cat third another neck away. The winning time was 1min 12.63secs on the yielding track.
“He did show some speed in his trials but I didn't think he had a chance from that wide gate,” said Mok.
“I just told the jockey to try and educate him, but he jumped and ran and to my surprise he just kept going.
“He's still green as he was going all over the shop in the last bit, but he still won well.”
Mok said the owners Kim Stable, who also races Fat Bobo
, his last winner on July 1, purchased Flag Of Command from Perth.
He was also happy with the run by his more fancied runner ($28) Pioneer Seven
(Greg Cheyne), who was badly checked at the 300m to run fifth.
“It wasn't a bad run. He got into some traffic problems, or else he could have finished closer,” he said.
Santana, who continues to knock in winners on a regular basis (25th win), said Flag Of Command proved hard to assist in the concluding stages, but his good toe earned him the race.
"He was very quick out of the gates," said the Brazilian jockey.
"But I had to keep pulling him back in in the home straight. I think he handles the turf better than the Polytrack."