Mark Walker’s doubts about Elite Invincible’s ability to handle turf were quickly allayed following a smart win from the Irish-bred in the $80,000 Class 3 Division 1 race over 1400m on Sunday.
The two-time Singapore champion trainer needed to know if the Archarcharch four-year-old could make amends from his last-start unplaced run in a 1200m race on turf a fortnight ago should he press on towards a Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge campaign leading up to the Emirates Singapore Derby (1800m) in July. All three Legs are run on grass.
After settling in a perfect one-out one-back berth, Elite Invincible (Vlad Duric, $21) drew on level terms with the leaders upon straightening, edging past Siamese Cat (Barend Vorster) and Sun Dream (Wong Chin Chuen) to hit the front before grinding his way to a one-length victory from The Capital (Ryan Curatolo) with Mr Exchequer (Matthew Kellady) third another 1 ½ lengths away.
Elite Invincible (Vlad Duric) asserts his superiority in the Class 3 Division 1 race on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club
The winning time was 1min 22.65secs for the 1400m on Long Course.
“He had excuses at his last start. There was 129mm of rain and anywhere in the world, they wouldn’t race,” said Walker.
“He was on the outside strip which was not as good and he just didn’t stretch. Today, Vlad had him in the gun position.
“The owners bought him for the Derby, and I guess I am more relieved than anything as there was a bit of a question mark on turf. I told myself he was too good not to improve on his last run and get back to his form.
“I’ve teamed up with Vlad last year and he is riding in outstanding form this year.”
Duric was already bringing up win No 5 to strengthen up his hold further his first place on the premiership despite missing the first two meetings through suspension.
“There was a question mark if he could handle the grass, but he gave me a beautiful feeling throughout,” said the Singapore champion jockey.
“He is a pretty casual guy in trackwork. He just needs more ground.
“Everything went right for him today. He had to carry a big weight and all in all, it was a good effort.”
Known as Qatar Man in England (where he boasted one win over the all-weather mile at Kempton Park when prepared by Marco Botti) and Dubai, Elite Invincible has already tallied up more than $75,000 for his new owners, the Elite Performance Stable.