Visiting Australian jockey Daniel Moor steered the James Peters-trained Skywalk to back-to-back wins in the $125,000 Kranji Stakes A race over 1200m at his second visit to Singapore on Sunday.
Licensed by Racing Victoria, the 33-year-old who rides frequently for the China Horse Club, was invited by Peters to Kranji after he rode Wimbledon (12th) in the 700 million won ($830,000) Korean Group 1 Keeneland Korea Sprint (1200m) in Seoul on September 10.
After firing blanks at his last visit on September 29 and October 1, he was booked on four rides on Friday (none saluted), and seven rides on Sunday, whereas fellow Australian William Pike also flew in to ride at the season’s final meeting, which features the Group 3 Colonial Chief Stakes, and was booked on nine rides, in which he won on Really Capable for trainer Stephen Gray in the last race.
The Warrnambool-born jockey was at his third ride for Peters. Skywalk, a last-start winner in a Class 3 race over 1000m on October 29, after Arc Triumph and Buenos Aires ran fourth earlier, determined to hit the jackpot this time.
Skywalk hands visiting jockey Daniel Moor his first win in Singapore, picture Singapore Turf Club
Having won two-from-two on Polytrack previously, the four-year-old son of Battle Paint travelled comfortably after the gates opened to settle nicely in third. Affleck (Oscar Chavez) quickened along the rails to run alongside Skywalk, with $14-favourite Nova Swiss (Manoel Nunes) on their outside in the backstraight.
As Eclair Choice (Ng Choon Kiat) led the pack at the turn, Affleck was already seen back-pedalling, while Skywalk had only begun to launch his assault. The chestnut gelding sprinted to the front easily, and looked to have secured his win at the 200m.
However, Super Fortune (Olivier Placais), who was bidding for a three-in-a-row, decided to give the $23 shot a run for his money as he loomed large on the outside. Moor would not let the chance to open his account slip away, and Skywalk was able to edge out Super Fortune by a neck on the line.
Polytrack specialists Distinctive Darci (Vlad Duric) and The General (Barend Vorster) filled up the minor placings in third and fourth respectively, while Nova Swiss finished fifth.
The winning time on the Polytrack over 1200m was a new class record of 1min 10.48secs, slightly bettering Rocket Man’s old record time of 1min 10.63 in 2011, albeit the latter had a back-breaking weight of 59.5kg while Skywalk enjoyed a feather load of 51.5kg (Moor rode half over).
The Victorian jockey was found guilty for a breach of whip rule at Rosehill and got suspended for a period of two weeks till November 29. So he had to work hard to shed the extra pounds off.
“I had two weeks off in Melbourne, because I hit my horse (too much) when I try to win, and I got suspended over there for that,” said Moor.
“This horse put the writing on the wall last start in quick time. He’s got a little bit of a future here.
“He sort of just pushed back and put himself in his spot, and he travelled well and he gave a solid kick for me.
“I am very thankful to the Singapore Turf Club for giving me the opportunity to come here and ride a winner.
“It’s amazing and it’s a feather to my cap, and I’m really appreciative.”
Peters was equally happy for Moor, and said that the big plan next-up for the China Horse Club-owned Skywalk will be the Group 3 New Year Cup next year.
“We had a really nice gate, and we had a beautiful run round, just behind the leaders,” said the second-year trainer who was at his 34th win.
“He travelled really well throughout, and he stuck it out even when he got challenged by Super Fortune.
“He’s (Moor) worked hard to get down to the 51 (kg), and he got him on a perfect ride, and it’s good to see him get a winner.
“The New Year Cup is next for Skywalk. It’s the perfect race for him.”
The traditional curtain raiser for the new year, the $200,000 Group 3 New Year Cup will see its distance reduced from 1900m to 1200m for the first time, a nice fit for promising sprinter Skywalk.