Genuine performer Viviano (NZ) finally shed a bridesmaid tag that had been building up of late when he came out tops in a thrilling four-way go in the $100,000 Kranji Stakes B race over 1400m on Friday night.
Placed at his five runs this year, including three seconds at his last three starts, the Keeper six-year-old was a deserving victor when he came wearing down odds-on favourite Curvature inside the last 200m.
Winning Cause motored home late on the outside but missed out by a head with Curvature beaten in third place by a nose. Aotearoa (NZ) (Sakhee's Secret) was another tardy guest to join the party, settling for fourth place another neck away.
Sent out as the $25 second favourite, Viviano clocked the winning time of 1min 22.53secs for the 1400m on the Short Course.
To trainer Mark Walker, there is no doubt the Dato Yap Kim San-owned gelding’s sheer will to win held sway in the blanket finish, but a large chunk of that epic drive to the line bore the print of champion jockey Vlad Duric’s peerless skills in the pigskin.
“Vlad’s riding in great form. He really makes the difference in a tight finish, he’s too good,” said the Singapore champion trainer.
“This horse is so consistent every time, he always tries his heart out. A little rain fell and I think that helped him, too.
“He’s a horse who goes good for five runs and then he loses his form a little. He will go for a freshen-up now.
“He’s a stable favourite at home. Karen, Gus’s (assistant-trainer Clutterbuck) wife looks after him in the afternoon and really spoils him rotten, maybe that’s the key to him!
“It’s great for Dato Yap and the Raffles Racing Stable who have been a great supporter of mine from Day 1. He has new horses coming all the time and I’m very appreciative of that.”
With that solitary win at Friday’s meeting, Duric extends his lead on the Singapore jockey’s premiership to now put a space of four wins between him and fellow Australian rider Michael Rodd.
“Viviano is such a lovely honest horse. He really toughed it out tonight,” said Duric.
“They went at a good gallop and I was just a bit concerned about the pull in weights between him and Curvature coming into the straight, even if it was only 1.5kgs.
“Lee Freedman’s horse is a good thing going through his grades and I thought he was travelling really well. I was worried for my old bloke, but he just never gave up.”
Viviano has now taken his handy record to eight wins and seven placings from 31 starts for stakes earnings that have now tipped over the half-a-million mark. -STC