The 1,000 metres seem to be at this stage about the last frontier for Champagne Rein after he finally broke through for his maiden win at his 13th attempt in the $60,000 Selangor Turf Club Trophy, a Class 4 Division 2 race on Friday night.
The Captain Rio five-year-old looked to have the race shot to pieces when he swept to the lead coming off a cosy rails run in third place for jockey Vlad Duric, but started to shorten up 150m out.
Grey Falcon (Nooresh Juglall) came cutting the $13 favourite back with every stride, but the New Zealand-based Westbury Stud-owned gelding managed to cross the line first with half-a-length to spare.
Champagne Rein (Vlad Duric) breaks the duck at Kranji on Friday night, picture Singapore Turf Club
On Electric Avenue (Syafiq Hazman) ran third another gap of more than three lengths away. The winning time was 58.33 seconds for the 1000m on the Polytrack, making Champagne Rein the new class record holder for the trip.
Walker said he would give Champagne Rein a break after that first win, hoping he can keep going through his grades when he comes back.
“He had the top weight tonight, but it was a superb ride by Vlad Duric,” said Walker.
“They got a good cart into the race and they then pinched a handy break. It shortened on the line but it was a class ride.
“It’s my first horse for the Westbury Stud’s Eric Watson. It’s fantastic and hopefully he can win some more races.
“He’s quite a consistent horse. He will go for a break now and hopefully, he can go through his grades when he comes back.”
With that 39th win, Duric has now stretched his lead in the Singapore jockey’s premiership to five winners on Alan Munro. The Victorian jockey said Champagne Rein might be just a five-furlong horse.
“He only just got the 1000m. He was getting the staggers late,” said Duric.
“It was still a terrific effort. I waited a little around the corner as he had 58kgs on his back.
“He put a gap on the rest, but he just got the five furlongs.”
Thanks to his five placings, that maiden win has now taken Champagne Rein’s stakes earnings past the $80,000 mark for his owners.