Warm favourite Anonymous rewarded his handlers’ patience with a determined win in the $60,000 Perak Turf Club Trophy, an Open Benchmark 67 race over 1200m.
Dropped back at the rear, the I Am Invincible five-year-old, who had not saluted for almost a year (last win on June 24, 2016) lived up to his name by staying under the radar after despatch, before swiftly circling around the field from the 600m to sit within striking distance as the field bunched up, homeward-bound.
In one fell swoop, Anonymous ($21) drew on level terms with the leaders of the pack as he sailed home on the outside. Most then thought he would make short shrift of his opponents, but he started to peak a little on his run at the 150m mark.
Anonymous (Vlad Duric) hangs on for dear life as Jelly Bean (Syafiq Hazman, No 5) comes wearing him down, picture Singapore Turf Club
At that moment, Jelly Bean (Syafiq Hazman) popped out of the pack with a gallant challenge down the middle, but under Vlad Duric’s typical hard riding, Anonymous threw everything into the battle to hang on by a head from Jelly Bean.
Conilad (Glen Boss), who rode shotgun with Anonymous at the rear, did not enjoy the same uninterrupted run as the winner, having to weave his way through traffic upon straightening, but he had every chance inside the 200m when the breaks came up. The winner was just too good with the David Kok-trained gelding having to settle for third place one length off Anonymous.
The winning time was 1min 10.85secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.
Winning trainer Sonny Yeoh’s assistant-trainer Saimee Jumaat said Anonymous was by no means a bombproof horse to train, especially at the barriers, but he can certainly rise to the occasion when things work out well.
“It’s well documented he is a problem horse, but we’ve managed to sort him out at the barriers,” said the former Singapore champion jockey.
“He’s a work in progress and Vlad gave him a beautiful ride tonight. We have persevered with him, coaxing him along, it’s not easy, but we have a big team behind us and it’s paid off.”
Saimee will soon be helming his own yard as he was recently allocated stables by the Singapore Turf Club. The new trainer officially starts operations on August 1, along with fellow Singaporean Young Keah Yong while Malaysian Tan Kah Soon kicks off one month later on September 1.
“I’m looking forward to that. It’s exciting days ahead!” he said.
While Saimee boasts eight premiership titles as a jockey on his resume, Duric, who is at his fifth Singapore season, has yet to claim one, but going on his current white-hot form and the way he had extended his lead to seven winners on Alan Munro (41 versus 34) with his hat-trick of wins (Champagne Rein and Miss Blanchett were the other two winners), the Australian jockey has certainly taken one big step towards it.
Renowned for his strong whip-riding, Duric was seen at his finest on his trio of winners, especially Anonymous when Jelly Bean ranged upsides with a stinging run.
“Anonymous is not the easiest horse to ride. He had his head a bit awkward in his barrier,” he said.
“The second horse (Jelly Bean) dived late at him, but he held on good. He was well prepared by Sonny and Saimee.”
Yeoh began the 2017 season with a bang by taking out the opening race with Special Force, followed by three more in the space of two weeks, but the pace slackened up a little afterwards. Anonymous was bringing up Yeoh’s 13th win for the year.