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The planets aligned for the Arexevan-Relentless Stable when their flagship galloper, Relentless, knocked in the biggest win of his 15-start career after he took out the $150,000 Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) on Sunday.
Given the best preparation by leading trainer Tim Fitzsimmons and a perfect ride by four-time Singapore champion jockey Vlad Duric, it was still up to the talented son of Hallowed Crown to show why he was up to the task of beating the best four-year-old milers on show at Kranji.
The best four-year-old in the race was Lim's Kosciuszko - sent out as the $10 favourite - who, under the experienced jockey Danny Beasley, crossed and led from the widest gate early to try to make every post a winning one in the feature race.
Lim's Kosciuszko looked to be cruising too when kicking in the straight and having the measure early of the other on-pace runners, Red Ocean (Ronnie Stewart) and Con Speranza (Marc Lerner), with realistically only the orange and blue silks of Relentless close enough with momentum to make a challenge.
But with Duric doing what he does better than most in Singapore, that challenge became a winning reality for ecstatic connections and race caller Scott Bailey – who was calling his first Group race – when Relentless ($47) loomed a serious chance at the 150m before passing Lim's Kosciuszko late to win relatively comfortably by three-quarter of a length.
Tiger Roar (Bernado Pinheiro) – who was never close enough in running to look a winning threat – ran on super late to finish third (albeit two-and-a-quarter lengths behind the winner).
The winning time was 1 min 34.5secs over the mile on the Short Course.
As usual, the Arexevan crew was loud and proud after the race and in the absence of manager David Dawson, it was stable representative, Robert Sim, who spoke on behalf of the happy owners.
"To have someone the quality of Vlad – he gave us a call – he got the whole stable very pumped and excited," said the emotional Australian expatriate.
"We knew the horse was progressive. Timmy told us he was one of our best and considering we'd had Switchblade, Hint and Trudeau, we honestly think he's the best we have ever had.
"He's doing a fantastic job. The horse had an injury last year, he got him ready, he got the best jockey, we can't complain. Lovely work, Tim."
Fitzsimmons was as emotional as the connections when talking to racing presenter, Pat Comerford, in the winner's circle after the race.
"It's amazing, that's very special," said Fitzsimmons who only trained his first Group winner when Golden Monkey won the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m) last Saturday.
"He was one of the first horses I bought with Peter Twomey (bloodstock agent at Wattle Bloodstock) and he had a little setback last year, but the owners have been amazing. They're so patient with him and I'm pumped."
Duric, who was granted a short-term licence to ride in Singapore from June 22 to July 17, was full of praise for all involved.
"They (Arexevan Stable) have been around in Singapore for as long as I've been riding here – some 14 odd years – and they deserve all the success they get," said the champion hoop after dismounting from his first winner at his comeback meeting on Sunday.
"This little horse, I remember winning on him about a year ago (in a Class 4 race over 1600m on June 5) and the boys rang me after and said he might be a (Group 1 Singapore) Derby (1800m) horse if he keeps improving and that's what he's done.
"He drew a terrible barrier but I had all the luck early. I was able to find the fence, rest and they were going a good gallop in front.
"The way my horse was 'idling off the bridle', I knew he had a good turn of foot so I was confident a long way out.
"But obviously I had Lim's Kosciusko in front and I thought he might be dominant but they went a good enough gallop, so I was able to get him late."
And in an ominous warning for his four-year-old rivals in the upcoming Singapore Derby on July 17, Duric declared:
"The Derby's his grand final."
With five wins, two seconds and three thirds in 15 starts, Relentless has now amassed close to $260,000 in prizemoney for connections.