Special King goes all the way

Korean jockey Moon Se Young made the most of a last-minute pick-up ride to add a third Kranji winner to his scorecard on Sunday.


Trainer Alwin Tan gave the eight-time South Korean champion jockey the call-up after Manoel Nunes could not make the weight even after he was declared to ride 1.5kgs over the allotted 50kgs posted in the $65,000 Initiation race over 1100m.


Taking the two-year-old colt by Magnus straight to the front from his handy draw (three), Moon rated his horse to the minute before asking for the supreme effort upon straightening up. 

Special King (Moon Se Young) gets on board at his second Kranji start on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club

The $57 shot immediately opened up to a commanding break before On Electric Avenue (Syafiq Hazman) cut back the deficit to one and a half lengths. The Golden Goat (Pregasam Dellorto) stuck on well for third place another 3 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 5.15secs for the 1100m on the Polytrack.


Newcomer and $13 favourite Super Denman (Barend Vorster) sprang the gates in a flash, but was never able to tuck in from his awkward alley, looking like he could not quite negotiate the bends. He eventually ran fourth and can only improve from that first run.


As for Moon, that impromptu win from Special King could not have been timed any better. One race earlier, the Seoul rider, who commenced his three-month licence in early May and had up until Special King only two winners (first one being a Tan runner, Thunder Cat) in 56 rides to his credit, lost on odds-on favourite Silver Power.


“The trainer Alwin Tan told me he had good gate speed and to use it to try and go forward,” said Moon.


“Behind the barriers, I warmed him up a lot. At the start, he jumped to the lead easily and settled nicely.


“When I asked him to go, he still had plenty left in the tank. He’s a nice horse who can keep improving.”


Tan said it was jockey John Sundradas, who rode Special King at his debut in the fifth Leg of the Singapore Golden Horseshoe series three weeks ago, the IRT Juvenile Stakes over 1200m, who recommended a drop back in distance.


“The first time he ran, he showed plenty of speed and went to the front,” said the reigning Singapore champion trainer.


“John said it would benefit him to go over a shorter distance as he was a natural frontrunner and was only two. On the way he won today, I will stick to Polytrack sprints up to 1100m-1200m for now.


“Unfortunately, Nunes could not make the weight today but I’m very happy for Moon as it’s his third win here.


“The horse was a good buy at the Magic Millions two-year-old sale. The owners (Special Luck Stable) race horses like Mystic Master with me, but this is a different partnership.”