Baertschiger targets 3YO Challenge for 300th winner Be Bee

Trainer Shane Baertschiger was wondering if he would ever saddle that 300th winner all night on Friday until his promising three-year-old Be Bee sealed the milestone in the last Kranji race.

The lanky Australian handler saddled seven runners in six races, but took home only two placings before, courtesy of Emergency Acceptor Kiss Your Song (Matthew Kellady, third) in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1000m in Race 2, while $15 favourite Montaigne (Oscar Chavez, second) lost his top spot to the Mark Walker-trained Elite Invincible in the $60,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1200m in Race 3.

Baertschiger pinned his last hope on Be Bee, a son of Showcasing, who was resuming after he last ran fourth to Mr Hanks in the Group 3 Juvenile Championship on July 30.

The even-money favourite did not disappoint in the $60,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1200m first-up.

Be Bee (John Powell) races strongly to the post to take out the last race on Friday night, picture Singapore Turf Club

The Aushorse Golden Horseshoe winner sprang out of the gates fast, but regular partner John Powell quickly settled him back in fourth position one-off the fence, seeing as Sun Dream (Wong Chin Chuen) raced up to the lead, with Master Of Malibu (Barend Vorster) and newcomer Elite Power (Vlad Duric) in second and third position respectively.

Turning for home, the burly New Zealand-bred circled wide and began to gave chase. The race was soon over for the three frontrunners when Be Bee upped the ante and bounded away to a solid win.

Elite Power ran a neck-second, but it was a good effort from the UK-bred’s first run at Kranji. Master Of Malibu was beaten into third place by the same margin.

The winning time on the Polytrack over 1200m was 1min 12.06secs.

Baertschiger, who took over the reins after his father Don retired in 2012, was glad he did not have to wait till Sunday for the big 300th milestone.

“It’s all good and happy, that I’ve been able to do it (reach 300th win) within five years,” said the Singapore permanent resident who was at his 61st win this season, four shy of trainer Ricardo Le Grange.

“I will set him up for the 3YO series next year. We will see how he runs in the first two legs (Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint and Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic), before considering the third one (Singapore Guineas).”

The Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge consists of three legs. The first leg, the $250,000 Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1200m will be run on March 30 next year, followed by the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic over 1400m on April 22, and the Group 1 Singapore Guineas over a mile on May 18, in which the latter two races will see their prizemoney increased to $500,000 and $1 million respectively as part of the new racing initiatives rolled out by the Singapore Turf Club in August this year.

No 1 stable jockey John Powell, however, did point out that the Auric Stable-owned gelding would need a pair of blinkers in future.

“He was up 20kg in weight (529kg) tonight, so he was only 80% fit,” said the Australian jockey.

“I was panicking when we were caught three deep, but it was a strong tough win for him first-up.

“I think he will need blinkers next time though as he looked around a bit.”

Be Bee has now scored three wins in four starts, raking in over $270,000 in prizemoney for his owner Jerry Sung.