Boom Hong Kong apprentice jockey Matthew Poon might not have cut a swathe like he did at his first Singapore cameo last year, but he had actually saved the best for last at his last day of riding on Sunday, scooping up a hat-trick of wins, which featured the S$200,000 Jumbo Jet Trophy (1400m) aboard Preditor (NZ) (Savabeel) for good measure.
Showcasing that trademark poise and strength that won so many over last year, Poon ended his second Kranji stay with a late flourish, scoring aboard Marine Treasure (Manhattan
Rain), Preditor and Silent Prince (NZ) (Casino Prince) –all for trainer Shane Baertschiger.
No doubt the more nail-biting finish - and by far the moremomentous - was Preditor’s last-stride cliffhanger in a most riveting Jumbo Jet Trophy four-way go.
The Savabeel six-year-old entire lobbed along ahead of only Mr Spielberg (NZ) (Pentire) and Bahana (NZ) (Elusive City) for most of the trip. Even with the winning post in sight 400m out, he was still lurking around behind a fortress of horses.
For Preditor, not only he had the job ahead with acres of land to make up, but Debt Collector (NZ) (Thorn Park) had already launched a stinging run on the outside. Not many can claim the bragging rights of pegging back the 2016 Singapore Horse of the Year in full flight – even if he was resuming from a long break in Australia.
But they had not reckoned with the “last train running”! The moment Poon angled his mount towards the outermost path to the wire, the predatorial instincts in Preditor were jolted back in full gear.
It still looked like mission impossible with Debt Collector flashing home at the rate of knots, and all poised to dish out a late sucker punch to Clarton Super (Swift Alliance) and favourite Circuit Land (Mizzen Mast), but the “pink panther” (Baertschiger’s pink and red colours as he owns him, too) flying on the outside lunged late to finish right over the top of them.
Baertschiger said that even though he was barracking more for Aramco “(Magic Albert) inside the last furlong, he knew Preditor would go close when he caught sight of a pink flash rushing home on the outside.
“I didn’t think he could win from where he was. He was a long way back and Debt Collector was in front of him,” said the Australian handler.
“I was going for Aramco instead, but Matty rode a very patient race and got him into the clear at the right time.
“In the Kranji Mile, we raced him the same way. If he had drawn better then, he would have been the first Singapore horse home as he ran the best sectionals.
“The longer the better for him. The Gold Cup is a race I will definitely be aiming at for him.”
The Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) is the third and last Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown series and will be run on November 11. Prior to that, Preditor may even have a crack at the first two Legs, the Raffles Cup (1600m) on September 23 and the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m) on October 21.
Preditor was a $75,000 purchase from the Waikato Stud draft during the premier session of the 2014 New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale Series at Karaka. He is out of the Listed Warstep Stakes (2000m) winner Bird who is also the dam of the stakes placed Flamingo (NZ).