Singapore star Better Than Ever showed his true colours last night with a good victory in the S$500,000, Group 1, Kranji Mile (1600m), the first leg of the Singapore Triple Crown Series.
Jumping well and settling forward in third on the rail, regular jockey Saimee Jumaat had Better Than Ever (French Deputy x Songfest) travelling nicely in the box seat. Coming into the straight, Better Than Ever was travelling beautifully but quickly ran into trouble at the 300 metre mark. Copping a check and getting boxed in, Jumaat was forced to stop riding Better Than Ever while stable mate Waikato (Pins x Skywalker Wilkes) powered to a two length lead.
Getting free at the 200 metre mark, Jumaat got to work on the son of French Deputy but the effort looked futile at the 100 metre mark with Waikato still holding a one length lead. In what looked like becoming an upset, Better Than Ever dug deep, drawing on all his champion qualities, managing to run down Waikato to win by a neck.
Trainer Laurie Laxon was clearly relieved after the race and was full of praise for Better Than Ever.
"It certainly looked dicey when he was flat-footed at the 300m. Things didn't quite work out for him, but I think it's in dire circumstances like today when we saw his amazing champion qualities come forward.
"It was his toughest win by far today and I think it's the first time that I saw Saimee hit him."
"When he did that, he just knuckled down. I still thought he would be too late but luckily, he got up where it mattered."
Better Than Ever won the Group 1 Singapore Guineas at his only other start over a mile and has taken his remarkable unbeaten record to 11 wins.
Purchased by his trainer, Laurie Laxon from Blandford Lodge at the Karaka 2008 Premier Yearling Sale for $80,000, Better Than Ever will be heading to the second Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown, the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1800m) on October 24. Connections are keen to take Better Than Ever to Dubai next year.
Blandford Lodge will be offering half-brother to Better Than Ever by exciting young sire Darci Brahma at the 2011 Karaka National Yearling Sale Series commencing 31 January at Karaka.
Karaka graduates had further success in Singapore and Hong Kong over the weekend with another six winners:
Horse Breeding Race Breeder NZB Sale Details
Appreciation Danasinga - Kincia HKJC Beijing Maiden Little Avondale Stud John Foote Bloodstock LTD PTY $92,500
Amityship Pentire - Spraypaint HKJC Nanjing Handicap Grande Vue Lodge New Zealand Bloodstock $36,000
Flying Supreme O'Reilly - Saucy HKJC Tianjin Handicap Waikato Stud Ltd Hong Kong Jockey Club
Mr Raffles Storm Creek - Force Fillee Singapore Class 4 Kilgravin Lodge Mr S A Crawford
Simply the Best Stratum - Career Start Singapore Class A Goodwood Stud P/I $65,000
Ace Armando Pins - Centraforce Singapore Class A Tautahi Farm Mr L J Laxon $220,000