Stronger Premier Fighter fires up at comeback

Patience is a golden virtue in racing and Premier Fighter was yet another classic example of that adage on Sunday.

Trainer Steven Burridge wisely decided there was not much point pressing on with the Oamaru Force three-year-old after he kept pulling up a little jarred up, even if he was trying his best at his first three starts - coming the closest at the last one on November 11 when fourth to Cadet.

A preliminary indication that the let-up was bearing fruit was when Premier Fighter won a barrier trial by more than three lengths on February 23, though the real test would be when he goes out there to frank that form in a race.

Jockey A'Isisuhairi Kasim takes a peek behind as he steers Premier Fighter to a smashing win 
on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club

That he duly did in smart style in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1000m on Sunday, aided in no small measure by a confident ride from A’Isisuhairi Kasim.

Parked outside race-leader Shoot Up High (Nooresh Juglall) from the get-go, Premier Fighter, who was sent out as the $15 favourite, was cantering as the field approached the home turn. After a few shakes of the reins, Premier Racing’s charge left little doubt in the minds who would reign supreme among the nine-horse field as he careered away to a 2 ½-length win from the late-closing My Horse (Olivier Placais) with Shoot Up High holding on for third place another half-head away.

The winning time was 58.97 seconds for the 1000m on the Polytrack.

“He’s a horse who showed ability last time, but he was soft-boned and he kept going sore. We decided to train him a bit differently and it’s worked out well,” said Burridge.

“He trialled very well a couple of weeks ago (won on February 23) and it’s great to see him win for Wade (son) and one of my loyal owners Ian Brown from Kuala Lumpur. He used to race Iluminado with me.”

At his first race-ride on Premier Fighter, A’Isisuhairi jumped off with the satisfied smile of a job well done.

“I didn’t want to touch him too soon. I saw at his last two runs he only has a short sprint,” said Burridge’s former two-time champion apprentice jockey.

“At the jump, he began really well and as there was no pace, I found myself landing in a more forward spot than I thought.

“All I did was to cuddle him up before going for home, but once he passed them, he was looking around and hanging out, a sign he was still pretty green.