Champion-elect trainer Mark Walker stretched his massive lead in the Singapore premiership by another two winners when he claimed the first two races on Singapore’s biggest raceday on Sunday.
The New Zealander, who does not saddle a runner in the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup, was still snaring his share of the limelight with a couple of winners on the undercard.
After She’s The One (Craig Grylls) stormed home late to claim the first race, the $38,000 Causeway Bay Stakes, a Kranji Stakes D Division 2 race over 1400m, newcomer Kingsman (Vlad Duric) doubled the dose for Walker in almost identical style – right at the eleventh hour.
Kingsman (Vlad Duric, No 2) collar Montaigne (John Powell) to make a winning debut, picture Singapore Turf Club
Walker’s unassailable lead on Shane Baertschiger has now been extended to 26 winners (84 winners versus 58 winners).
A four-year-old by Darci Brahma, Kingsman is a horse who came to Walker with a bit of hype via Chris Rutten, a respected horseman in New Zealand.
“He’s a horse who’s run in Group races (including a third place in Group 3 company) back home. He was gelded before he came here,” said Walker.
“Chris Rutten raced him there and has a high opinion of him. Chris used to pre-train horses and has a great eye for horses; he raced Our Touche with us before he went to Malaysia.
“He did all right in New Zealand, and I gave him a chance first-up as he was well prepared.”
Whenever he gets a chance, Walker did not fail to plug the champion sire he used to train during his glory days in New Zealand – Darci Brahma.
“These Darci Brahma’s just thrive here. They are quite relaxed and do very well here,” said Walker who won the New Zealand premiership five times and Singapore once in 2015.
“The stakes money is not too flash for geldings back home, and that’s why Chris decided to send this one up here.”
Duric said Kingsman, who is now owned by the Te Akau Racing Stable, is destined for better things as he gets to settle in at his new home.
“He’s a nice horse and he was fresh and fit for today. He was well prepared by Mark,” said the leading jockey.
“He will improve from today’s run and he’s got a nice future here.”
As for She’s The One, a four-year-old mare by Murtajill, she was picking up her second win from 15 starts in Singapore for stakes earnings in excess of $60,000 for the Synthetic Stable.