Good old Cavallo turned up again with his trademark acceleration to score a resounding win in the $100,000 Open Benchmark 97 race over 1100m on Polytrack on Sunday.
The honest seven-year-old son of Testa Rossa was notching up his 10th win in 54 starts that also included several forays at Group level, albeit without success. He ran in the Group 2 Merlion Trophy (1200m) at his last outing two weeks ago, running a creditable fifth to stable companion Infantry.
While it was his first win recorded under champion trainer Alwin Tan’s tutelage (he scored his previous nine wins for trainers Michael Freedman, Sam Chua and Mok Zhan Lun), one man has been along for the ride for much longer - jockey John Sundradas.
John Sundradas peeks over his shoulder to make sure Cavallo is home and hosed, picture Singapore Turf Club
Since his first ride on the Great Ninth Stable-owned galloper on September 1, 2013, the former Singapore champion apprentice jockey has gone on to form one of the most enduring tag teams seen at Kranji by riding him another 42 times, incidentally partnering him to his last six wins.
“I don’t know what it is. We just click very well,” he said humbly.
“I’ve had a good association with the horse, but I have to say thank you to Alwin and the owners for keeping me on him all along.
“He’s a get-back type of horse and the fast pace suited him today, and he won very well. The trick to him is to get him coming on the outside from a long way out.
“Last time out in the Merlion Trophy, he couldn’t come out but today, he had plenty of daylight and he was just too good. He just exploded away inside the last 200m.”
Eased out of the early speed battle as he usually does, Cavallo smoked his pipe at the rear while Sebas (Manoel Nunes) set a scorcher in front with Secret Mission (Sam Subian) nipping at his heels.
Turning for home, Sebas floundered completely as expected (ran second-last), with Secret Mission soon taking over, but the $160 longshot also came under soon after. The General (Nooresh Juglall) and Eatons Gold (Anandan Subramianiam) were next in line but as hard as they tried, they looked more like grinders than sizzlers.
Not Cavallo ($45), who once he was set alight on the outside, bounded away with an electric turn of foot to go and score by a margin of 2 ¼ lengths from Sun Pioneer (Wong Chin Chuen) with The General third another three parts of a length away. The winning time was 1min 4.45secs for the 1100m on the Polytrack.
Popular picks Royal Ruler (Barend Vorster, $16) and Wonderful (John Powell, $17), who was bidding for a six-in-a-row, had every chance during the run, but were left standing when Cavallo went on by, to run fifth and sixth respectively.
“Cavallo is a very consistent horse. There was a fast pace to the race and that suited him,” said Tan.
“John did a good job. He knows him inside out and knows when is the best time to launch him.
“I only told him to take him to the outside for his challenge, and in the last 200m, he just flew home.
“I was actually thinking of running him in the Rocket Man Sprint before, but I’ve gone for this race instead, and I’m glad he’s won.”
Formerly known as the Kranji Sprint until this year, the Group 3 Rocket Man Sprint (1200m) is the second Leg of the Singapore Sprint Series and will be run next Sunday on March 26. Tan won the first Leg with Infantry in the Merlion Trophy while the third and last Leg is the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m) will take place on April 16.