Trainer Sonny Yeoh paid big compliments to Michael Rodd after Amazing Man finally visited the winner’s circle at his 13th start on Friday night.
Yeoh said the Keeper four-year-old had been earning his oats with lots of placings except for that elusive win, but putting on the Australian jockey for the first time turned out to be the decisive factor.
Amazing Man had indeed been knocking on the door this year since being partnered by trainer Michael Clements’ new Malaysian apprentice jockey Shafrizal Saleh. But luck was not quite on their side, and on one occasion, even deserted them completely when the gelding wiped out another runner in the home straight as he switched across heels in search of daylight – a ride which earned Shafrizal a four-meeting ban.
Amazing Man (Michael Rodd) scoots off to a facile victory on Friday, picture Singapore Turf Club
A decision to switch to Rodd in Friday’s opener, the $35,000 Class 5 Division 1 race over 1200m was a pointer to Amazing Man’s chances of finally breaking his duck, and those who took him at $10 were right on the money.
Eased out to the rear after jumping from a wide alley, Amazing Man started to improve from the 800m, coursing out three wide to swing for home in third spot, ready to pounce on race-leader Mother Nature (Anandan Subramaniam). The moment he did, the race was all over bar the shouting.
Amazing Man kept racing away to score by a widening margin of 3 ¾ lengths from The Dodger with Mother Nature three parts of a length away in third place. The winning time was 1min 11.87secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.
“The horse was overdue for a win, but Michael is a classy jockey, and having him on was like adding one more length to the horse,” said Yeoh before adding with a chuckle: “We would have put Joao Moreira on, but Michael will do.”
To be put just behind the “Magic Man” was a huge flattery for Rodd, who, however, played down his role in the much-need ice-breaker for the ATL Stable-owned galloper.
“I just got on at the right time. He had a lot of bad luck, but he’s better than Class 5,” said the Australian jockey who, with that win went one clear of Vlad Duric, to sit on top of the Singapore jockey's premiership for the first time (he later rode a double with Splice to go two clear - 17 wins versus Duric’s 15).
“He drew eight and I got him to stay out of trouble. Coming down the hill, he was trucking in behind the leader even if he was travelling three deep, and he won very easily.”
Yeoh might have been in a jesting mood when he cracked the Moreira joke, but Rodd is actually gaining a bit of an international appeal of his own these days.
Besides riding Debt Collector in the US$6 million Group 1 Dubai Turf (1800m) at the Dubai World Cup meeting in Meydan on March 25, Rodd got the call-up for another ride – Triple Nine for South Korea in the US$1 million Group 2 Godolphin Mile (1600m).
“I’m really honoured to ride Triple Nine in the Godolphin Mile. He’s had three runs in Dubai, including a Group 1 race over 2000m and I’ve seen them all. He was not out of his depth,” said Rodd who himself had shuttled back and forth to Dubai for two rides on the Steven Burridge-trained Elite Excalibur during the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
“Look, he is a Korean horse and he loves the surface. They don’t know anything else.
“It’s always a buzz to ride at such meetings, and to get two is a real privilege. It’s the first race (after the Dubai Kahayla Classic for Purebred Arabians), so I will have plenty of time in between that and Debt Collector later.”