Singapore champion jockey Vlad Duric hit win No 400 with the James Peters-trained Mr Hanks (Showcasing) on Sunday.
Duric was taking it all in at the winner’s circle after jumping off Mr Hanks, thanking the support he has enjoyed since his comeback, while also adding the competition is getting tougher at Kranji, even if he currently sits on top on 37 winners, seven clear of Michael Rodd.
“It’s great. 400, that’s a lot of winners,” he said.
“I’m really chuffed it’s come for Oscar Racing Stable, a great supporter of mine and also for James who is a good mate.
“I love racing here, but this year has been tougher. I’m struggling with my weight, but I just have to keep chipping away.”
Peters said the early blistering pace set by tearaway leader Elise (Benny Woodworth) played into the hands of his charge, who was dropping in class after struggling in the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge.
“This horse was a very good two-year-old but was disappointing in the 3YO series,” said the English conditioner.
“He also drew wide barriers, but today he was in a perfect race and got a perfect barrier (two). There was a lot of speed to the race and he tried very hard to the line.”
Mr Hanks still spotted Elise around four lengths at the top of the straight, but the margin dwindled steadily with Duric no doubt riding with renewed vigour with that win No 400 in his sights.
Eastiger (Daniel Moor) and El Chapo (William Pike) warmed up to the task inside the last furlong, but too late as it turned out, settling for third and fourth place, another two lengths and half-a-length respectively.
The winning time was 1min 9.79secs for the 1600m on the Polytrack.
Previously raced as Oscar Eight in New Zealand from the stables of Nigel Tiley, Mr Hanks was second in the Listed Murdoch Newell Stakes (1100m) as a two-year-old before finishing seventh in the Listed Karaka Million (1200m).
The three-year-old gelding was a $21,000 graduate of Haunui Farm's 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Festival Yearling Sale draft.