Grey Falcon brings cheers back for Tan

Reigning Singapore champion trainer Alwin Tan heaved a huge sigh of relief after Grey Falcon scraped home by the barest of margins on Friday night.

Tan had not led in a winner since Super Fortune on August 6, so much so he had since lost second place to trainer Ricardo Le Grange.

While he is aware he now has a fight on his hands as far as his title defence goes given the yawning gap leader Mark Walker has established in this year’s premiership, Tan is keener to eke out a winner when he gets the chance in the increasingly competitive arena that is Singapore racing.

Grey Falcon (Manoel Nunes) hangs on for dear life as Decreto (Azhar Ismail) looms up on the outside, picture Singapore Turf Club

Grey Falcon, the $12 favourite looked like he had the $60,000 Class 4 race over 1100m all stitched up when he came off his handy spot outside Cairo (Chan Wei Sheng) as he went for broke at the top of the straight.

But Tan, just like his legion of backers, felt that familiar sinking feeling again when Decreto (Azhar Ismail) launched a threatening broadside on the outside, shaping yet again as another party-pooper.

For a second it looked like Tan would have to play second fiddle again, but the photo verdict finally went his way.

In a classic case of a bob of the heads, Grey Falcon survived by a nose from Decreto with Lucky Six (John Sundradas) third another length away. The winning time was 1min 5.17secs for the 1100m on Polytrack.

“It’s been a very stressful one month. Many seconds, I think around 10,” said Tan.

“I have been trying to change things up, like try a new feeding on my horses, just hoping luck will turn around.

“This horse Grey Falcon always puts in a very hard fight. He always puts himself there and tonight he had the luck on his side.”

Nunes said he felt the Align four-year-old had actually improved even if he had to wrest that win by a hair’s breath from Azhar.

“I feel this horse has actually got better. He settles better and is a lot more mature,” said the three-time Singapore champion jockey.

“He always tries 100% and tonight, it was head-up, head-down. I was really happy to see him get through because I’ve had so many seconds on this horse.”

With that second win and a remarkable haul of 11 placings from 18 starts, Grey Falcon has already rewarded his Thai owners Falcon Racing No 6 Stable with more than $165,000 in prizemoney.