Clokey kicks a goal on Kranji debut

Singapore racing fans will probably not recognise the names but most Australians would know the sport referred to when a horse like Clokey wins.

It’s a nod to their favourite sport, Australian Rules Football, or just “footy” as they call it Down Under.

And Clokey would certainly give a massive clue among the large Aussie expat community at Kranji who the owner is – Greg Perry.

Clokey (Michael Rodd) off to a smart winning debut in Race 2, picture Singapore Turf Club

The hardcore fan of AFL team Western Bulldogs names his horses after the Melbourne club players, such as Bontempelli, Dahlhaus (both deleted), Roughead and now Clokey, who is the nickname of centre half-forward Travis Cloke.

It may be premature to tell whether Clokey would become handier than his predecessors (Bontempelli and Dahlhaus were no world-beaters but did share three wins between them while Roughead has yet to score), but from the way the Swiss Ace four-year-old weighed in at his first run in the $35,000 Open Maiden race over 1100m, he certainly ticks a few boxes.

Racing manager Chris Bock was certainly rapt Perry whose horses run under Brown’s Tarnpirr Stable banner, has laid his hands on a promising sort.
“The horse is named after Western Bulldogs player Travis Cloke,” said Bock. “Greg Perry is a one-eyed supporter of the Western Bulldogs and names his horses after its players, like Roughead, and Bontempelli and Dahlhaus in the past.”

Brown said he had taken all the time needed to get the fairly bulky chestnut to his peak.

“I bought him as a yearling for $35,000. He came with some leg issues but we’ve fixed them,” said Brown.

“He’s quite a big horse and that’s why I didn’t rush him. He ran really well in his barrier trials and on that form, I thought he would run well first-up.”

Punters seemed to share the same opinion going with the $21 second-favourite tag Clokey was sent out with.

Showing an abundance of speed from his barrier No 3, Clokey vied for the lead with High Limit (Olivier Placais) before easing off to take a sit on the outside. Two other horses My Gold (Mohd Zaki) and Belt And Road (Wong Chin Chuen) came upsides to make a line of four.

Anything was possible as the quartet swung for home, with High Limit the first to abdicate, followed by Belt And Road. My Gold and Clokey, on the other hand, were doing their best work at the finish with Clokey gaining the ascendancy inside the last 100m to get up with one length to spare.

Six Empire (Oscar Chavez) ran on strongly to deny My Gold of the runner-up spot by a nose. The winning time was 1min 5.22secs for the 1100m on the Polytrack.

Rodd described his 55th winner for the year as “big and raw” but certainly not without ability.

“He’s still very big and raw and that’s why it’s taken so long to get him right,” said the Australian jockey.

“I rode him early doors when he was still very immature, but it’s Cliff’s track rider Shafiq who rides him most of the time and he’s done a fantastic job with this horse.

“He comes from a breed (Swiss Ace) that goes good on Poly here. He’s still learning his craft and should win a few more races here.