Xiong Fong gets his X-factor back

Unsighted for a while, Xiong Fong sprang back into the winner’s enclosure with a resounding victory in the $45,000 Hello Santiago De Chile Stakes (1200m), on Sunday.

Not a world-beater but not a bad sort either, the Sepoy four-year-old had been finishing closer to the rear than the other end this year. It was a far cry from his fairly consistent form shown last year when he did let down with a decent turn of foot at times, knocking in an honest record of two wins and four placings in 19 starts.

Dropped back in grade to a Class 4 Non Premier race, the Alwin Tan-trained gelding finally found his form of old, producing a withering burst that thrusted the $66 shot from a spot worse than midfield to a most emphatic 2 ¾-length win from Gain Eclipse (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) with Bringer Of War (Vlad Duric) third another neck away. The winning time was 1min 10.16secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.

Xiong Fong (Troy See) charges home on the outside to claim Race 3, picture Singapore Turf Club

That third win under leading apprentice jockey Troy See has now boosted his stakes earnings to the $125,000 mark for his owner Chen Yong Whay.

Tan opined that the blistering pace set by frontrunner and $16 favourite Swedish Memories (Michael Rodd) and the return to an easier class worked in Xiong Fong’s favour this time.

The finish was shaping like a two-way war between the well-backed Gain Eclipse and Bringer Of War when they took over the fading Swedish Memories at the 250m, but they had not reckoned with Xiong Fong who came sailing down the outside with an unstoppable burst.

“Troy rode him very well. The fast pace worked out nicely for us,” said Tan.

“The class suited him as well. He performed very well.

“He was up there in Class 3, he did show a fighting spirit, but I think he’s better in Class 4.”

See said he was in a striking position when the field fanned out at the top of the straight. It was just a matter of pushing the button.

“There was a lot of speed to the race. Coming into the straight, he was full of running,” said See.

“He was at the top of his game today and he was too good.”