I’m Incredible (Lope de Vega) was thrown in at the deep end by trainer Shane Baertschiger in Sunday’s S$175,000 Committee’s Prize (1600m), and the Karaka graduate rose to the occasion in style.
Bought for $260,000 from Curraghmore’s draft at the 2016 Premier Sale, I’m Incredible had won three of his first seven starts in Singapore, most recently a Class 4 victory on July 21. Sunday’s race was a steep rise in class, but I’m Incredible was equal to the task.
Ridden by A’Isisuhairi (Harry) Kasim, the five-year-old settled in third place before moving into second at the top of the home straight.
Through the last 300 metres, he reeled in the tearaway leader Makanani (Black Tide) and went clear to win by a length and a half.
“I really wanted to ride this horse as I knew he was going to do well over this distance,” Kasim said. “In the race, he was always travelling nice and steady. I just left him alone, let him run relaxed.
“I just wanted to save him up for that last run. I saw him win his last start, and I know he has a really good finish. At the 300m, when I changed my whip to the left, I knew he would get there.”
Baertschiger trains I’m Incredible for owner Desmond Ong’s Doha Stable.
“When I told the owners I would run the horse in the Committee’s Prize, they thought I was crazy,” Baertschiger said. “There aren’t a lot of horses on 69 points who run in a Group race, let alone win.
“But my horse had a light weight, and I knew he has a good turn of foot. Harry rode him a treat.
“I think that horse can improve further. It’s only his second-up run. The Gold Cup (2000m, November 10) is his goal and I will probably look at the El Dorado Classic (2000m on September 20) as his next target.”
I’m Incredible began his career under the name Miraculous Moment, and he won two trials in Brisbane in April of 2018.
Since relocating in Singapore, he has raced eight times for four wins and a placing, earning more than S$160,000 (NZ$179,700) in stakes.
I’m Incredible is a half-brother to In A Twinkling (Fastnet Rock), who was a $250,000 purchase at Karaka in 2016 by Te Akau principal David Ellis. He has been placed in three stakes races including the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m). Another Fastnet Rock half-brother sold for $250,000 in Karaka 2019 Book 1.
Another Karaka graduate, Star Emperor (NZ) (Red Giant), finished third in Sunday’s race. Passed in at the 2015 Select Sale with a reserve of just $10,000, he has won four of his 14 starts and earned the equivalent of more than NZ$210,000.
Purchaser Aquis Farm (Queensland)
Breeding Lope de Vega – Moment in Time
Sale Lot 417, 2016 Premier Sale, $260,000
Bred by Patinack Farm, NSW
In other news Last season’s star three-year-old filly Mystic Journey (Needs Further) stepped up to weight-for-age for her four-year-old debut and delivered again, taking an early lead in the New Zealand Bloodstock Caulfield WFA Championship for 2019.
The Tasmanian star had a fairytale season in 2018-19, stringing together brilliant victories in the Listed Jim Moloney Stakes (1400m), Group 3 Fillies’ Classic (1600m), Listed Thomas Lyons Stakes (1400m), Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m), and against older horses in the inaugural A$5 million All-Star Mile (1600m).
She has been anointed as one of the brightest young stars of Australian racing, and she is among the favourites for the Cox Plate (2040m) in October.
Her first step along that road was Saturday’s A$200,000 Group 2 P B Lawrence Stakes (1400m), the first leg of the NZB Caulfield WFA Championship. She was the youngest horse in a star-studded field, and she was more than up for the challenge.
Regular rider Anthony Darmanin slotted the four-year-old into fourth spot as Cliff’s Edge (Canford Cliffs) raced out to a clear lead.
Cliff’s Edge produced a powerful kick at the top of the home straight, with outstanding performer Hartnell (Authorized) leading the chase, but Mystic Journey changed gears in the last 300 metres and wore them down, winning by three-quarters of a length.
Mystic Journey has now won 11 of her 14 starts, earning more than A$3.8 million in prize-money for owner Wayne Roser.
“Today was a strong field, she had to step up today and she definitely did,” Darmanin said. “She’s done everything for me. She’s given me great opportunities. I can’t thank the connections enough.”
Jumps jockey turned trainer Adam Trinder was pleased to get the first step of the spring campaign out of the way.
“I’m definitely relieved,” he said. “She’s done all the right things at home, but it’s different with the raceday pressure. It’s pleasing to get them back to the races and see them do what you trust they’re going to do.
“There’s been a lot of interest, but I’ve been trying to keep things on an even keel. I’ve been talking to trainers who have handled good horses like this in the past, like Peter Moody and Tony McEvoy. They’ve given me some great advice.
“She was great there today. She showed willing and determination, and it’s going to hold her in good stead moving forward in this preparation.
“I feel there’s still some improvement there. She handled the soft ground today and was workmanlike, but she really appreciates very hard ground – she shows massive acceleration on that.”
Mystic Journey earned 10 points in the Caulfield WFA Championship, taking an early lead over Cliff’s Edge with 8 points and Hartnell with 6.
Fourth-placed Sikandarabad (Dr Fong) collected 4 points, with 3 for Mr Marathon Man (So You Think) and one each for Fifty Stars (Sea The Stars), Kenedna (Not A Single Doubt) and Neufbosc (Mastercraftsman).
The next leg of the Caulfield WFA Championship is the A$1 million New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) on August 31, where those rivals may have the chance to move ahead of Mystic Journey on the table.
“The Memsie is an excellent Group 1 race and I have a lot of respect for it as a target, but we’ll do what’s right by the filly – a month between runs might suit her better in this preparation,” Trinder said.