A drop back to sprints and Polytrack proved to be the winning move for former top juvenile Jupiter Gold on Sunday.
The Congrats four-year-old’s form has been on the slide since his last win in an Open Stakes race over 1600m on March 3, 2017.
Trainer Hideyuki Takaoka has been throwing the former rig in at the deep end in Group races, not to mention he was also stepped up in distance, even having a stab at the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup over 2200m last November.
Jupiter Gold (Olivier Placais) bounces back to his best on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club
With the results falling way below expectations, Takaoka and owner Kaz Hosaka decided to then go back to basics – sprints and Polytrack, over which Jupiter Gold actually won the first three of his previous six wins.
The daring switch could not have been more spot-on after Jupiter Gold reproduced his electric dash of old in Sunday’s $125,000 Speedy Cat 2013 Stakes, a Kranji Stakes A Division 2 race over 1200m on Polytrack.
Specked to start at $26, Jupiter Gold did not travel all that well throughout the trip, obviously not used to such nippy early sectionals, but with first-time partner Olivier Placais keeping him switched on, he soon moved into a striking position into the straight.
He had to sweat on a gap between Distinctive Darci (Vlad Duric) and Kratos (Zuriman Zulkifli) to widen just a touch, but once he got through, the complexion of the race suddenly changed into a one-horse affair.
Jupiter Gold strode away to a most impressive win, defeating Distinctive Darci by just under three lengths with Autumn Rush (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) third another 1 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 11.09secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.
“Going back to Polytrack and sprints gave us a good result,” said Takaoka.
“He ran well on Polytrack before. We tried him over long distances and he was not good enough.”
Placais, who was at his first time race-riding Jupiter Gold, said he had to pull out all the stops to get that win – his 24th for the year.
“Today we saw his real quality. To change something and bring him back to 1200m was a good move,” said the French jockey, who like nine other expat riders, was recently extended for another six months until the end of the year.
“But I had to pull the stick a few times to wake him up as he was dropping from 1600m to 1200m. It’s not a long-distance race anymore and I didn’t want him to switch off at the back.
“I think that has changed his mindset both in trackwork and in races. Even behind the gates, I kept him on his toes, just to put him under pressure early.
“He began okay but from the 800m to the 600m, he dropped the bit and I had to give him a few slaps to keep him focused.
“I had a bit of a scare in the straight as Vlad was keeping me in and I couldn’t come around him or I would lose too many lengths. So I decided to stay there and ride for luck.
“It actually worked out well because when we went through a gap between Kratos and Distinctive Darci, that seemed to spur on the fighting spirit in him.”
Jupiter Gold has now taken his handy record to seven wins and four placings from 19 outings for prizemoney that has now tipped over the half-a-million mark for the Jupiter Gold Stable.