It started as a ding-dong between Kranji’s leading expatriates Manoel Nunes and Danny Beasley, but Malaysian jockey Wong Chin Chuen hit a purple patch towards the end to outshine them for riding honours yesterday.
The two-time top apprentice had taken Race 2 in the card of 12 with Dancing Tycoon and then bagged his first four-timer by snaring the last three events with Global Kid, King Arthur and Speedy Missile.
Dancing Tycoon is trained by Stephen Gray, Global Kid by Michael Clements, while Donna Logan prepares King Arthur and Speedy Missile.
Wong has moved up from joint-eighth to fourth in the jockeys’ table with seven winners.
“My career best was three winners in a day – twice. Four is my first time. Everything went my way today and my horses got the perfect runs. It’s a good Chinese New Year,” said Wong.
“I knew Dancing Tycoon, King Arthur and Speedy Missile were my best chances; Global Kid was a bonus. But you can see from his home record, he is a good horse and, today, he got a light weight.
“I’ve definitely been riding better horses. Donna has given me a lot of good horses and I really appreciate it. I must also thank the other trainers and owners for their support.”
The Kedah-born rider, whose 50kg riding weight is an asset, has been sought after following his best season with 37 winners last year. He was the only one with a full book of rides yesterday.
His handling of Dancing Tycoon, a narrow debut third in a similar $20,000 Open Maiden event over 1,200m on turf, was a gem.
Wong said Dancing Tycoon gets quite excited in the parade ring. But, once he steps on the track, he is a different horse.
The $11 favourite jumped well and was placed a handy fifth. Gold Cut led by a couple of lengths from debut runner-up Blazing Kid.
Blazing Kid raced up to the tiring leader on straightening. Supernatural moved up third. Wong also made his move.
The Jason Ong-trained Blazing Kid kicked for Oscar Chavez, but was quickly challenged by Dancing Tycoon. The two horses went on to settle the finish.
Dancing Tycoon prevailed by a neck in 1min 09.87sec for the 1,200m on the Long Course C.
“This horse has potential. There’s still improvement once he learns how to focus better,” said Wong.
Wong also parked Global Kid, a $147 outsider, in a handy spot before hitting the front in the straight in the $50,000 Class 4 event over 1,600m.
Shepherd’s Hymn, one of his two stablemates in the race, extricated himself from an awkward spot to finish second, 3/4 lengths behind. Global Kid clocked 1:35.88.
With fellow hat-trick winner Lucky Jinsha scratched, King Arthur became the $16 favourite – and he won like one.
From the outside gate, Wong pushed his mount to overtake horses and track impressive trial winner Sacred Gift in the $70,000 Class 3 race over the Polytrack 1,200m.
He continued to ride positively and started to clear away turning for home. Although King Arthur tired in the end, he had “stolen” the race with the breakaway.
Stablemate Hadeer made a bold bid but fell short by 3/4 lengths. King Arthur clocked 1:12.33 for his fourth straight success and fifth in 13 starts.
“After the jump, I pushed him to the outside of the leader. I was worried a few horses might want to sit and I didn’t want to be caught wide. I think it was the winning move for this horse,” said Wong.
After a 20-minute delay to the last race because of heavy rain, Wong was back in his element on Speedy Missile in the $50,000 Class 4 event over 1,200m.
He secured a dream run on the rails, sitting midfield. Nunes took smart debut winner Dancing Light to a clear lead from Magnifique and Be You.
Speedy Missile moved up beautifully in the straight and, once Wong peeled him out for a clear run in the last 300m, his mount lengthened to score by 11/4 lengths from War Pride in 1:09.93.
Wong reckoned the rain helped.
“He always runs very well when the track is wet. He also needs the pace to be on and, today, they went fast,” he said.
“Everything went my way. When I got him out, he did everything by himself. He was just too good today,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Nunes and Beasley played a game of tit for tat.
Beasley levelled up on 11 winners with Perfect in the opening race. But Nunes replied with Sky Eye in Race 3 for win No. 12.
Beasley was on equal terms again when he took Race 4 with Malibu Beach, but Nunes went ahead again, on 13-12, with Fireworks.
Both had two seconds and two thirds.
The Panama-born naturalised Singaporean Chavez drew a blank to remain third on nine winners, two more than Wong.
Click here for Sunday’s SIngapore results: results14.pdf