Japanese filly Makanani franked her creditable last-start fourth in the Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1600m) with a searching win in the $80,000 Class 3 race over 1600m on Friday night.
Reunited with regular partner Derreck David, who missed out on the Guineas ride through suspension (Oscar Chavez took the ride), the daughter of Black Tide, who was the only three-year-old in the 10-horse field, overcame a tough run trapped four deep down the backstraight before taking it up in the home straight as pacesetter Sun Hoplites (Wong Chin Chuen) showed the white flag after cornering.
Top fancies Mr Scorsese (Matthew Kellady) and Groenewegen (Michael Rodd) came popping their questions, but it soon became clear they were not cutting much of an indent into the margin at the 200m pole.
The yellow-hooded filly did wobble a little in and out as she attacked the line on her lonesome, but her raw ability still saw the $19 shot safeguard a comfortable margin of two lengths from Groenewegen with Mr Scorsese having to settle for third place another half-a-length away.
The winning time was 1min 35secs for the mile on the Short Course.
Famous for his champion staying mares like Better Life and Jolie’s Shinju, Takaoka would rather keep things in perspective for now, even if he did admit the galloper raced by the Big Valley Stable (who owned his three-time Singapore Gold Cup-winning El Dorado) might well have the makings of an above-average stayer.
“She will definitely get better over more ground, but let’s take things slowly first,” said the Japanese handler.
“She ran well in the Guineas (fourth to Forever Young) and she has pulled up well. Everything has been fine with her since.
“Coming back to this Class 3 race over 1600m, I expected her to run well and she didn’t disappoint me.
“Maybe I will give her a short break now. I will then look at the programme for a suitable race but for sure she can go over more ground.”
At the winner’s podium, David could barely conceal his joy at landing the highlight of the night before his proud parents Eblan and Elaine.
“I’m so happy to have my mum and dad here tonight. They’ve visited me for a month and they have been my biggest supporters since I told them I wanted to become a jockey when I was three,” said the South African rider who is at his second Singapore season.
“This filly is improving all the time. She ran fourth in a Group 1 race and she was really in good shape tonight, especially the way she was bouncing on the way to the pens.
“I’ve ridden her as a two-year-old and I can tell you she can switch off better now. She had only 51.5kgs on her back and as we were on the Short Course I decided to go early even when she was four wide.
“She went to the line very strongly and things have worked out very well. A big thank you to my No 1 supporter Mr Takaoka, thank you for putting me on such a good horse.”
David’s father was indeed pleased as punch as he and his wife led in their son and his 17th winner for the year.
“Derreck is a very good rider and it was a great joy to see him win tonight,” said David senior.
“We’ll come back in October, but I’m sure Derreck will win many more races until then.”
With that second win from seven starts, Makanani has now taken her stakes earnings past the $120,000 mark for Mr Masa Otani of the Big Valley Stable.