Sacred Croix came with a well-timed run to down favourite Cru Bourgeois in the S$20,000 Open Maiden Division 1 race over 1200m in Singapore on Sunday.
The Savabeel four-year-old slipped under the radar at his racing debut last October in a similar Open Maiden race, but run over a distance that was considered too short for him – 1000m.
He has, however, shown more enterprise at his barrier trials since, including winning his last one on January 22.
And over a more suitable six-furlong trip, Sacred Croix (Benny Woodworth) was a totally different proposition when he came off the heels of Cru Bourgeois (Vlad Duric) at the 400m to unleash a withering finish towards a most impressive three-quarter length win.
Cru Bourgeois was far from disgraced in defeat. The Stephen Gray-trained son of Burgundy was actually being hailed the winner when he swept to the lead with a powerful burst upon straightening, but Sacred Croix, the second favourite at $19, pounced.
The well-backed River Superstar (Michael Rodd) did loom as a potential party-pooper down the middle, but peaked on his run to finish third another three-quarter length away. The winning time was 1min 11.18secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.
“He’s by Savabeel. He’ll get better over more distance,” said winning trainer Mark Walker.
“It’s great for his owner Dato Yap (Kim San) who has been a good supporter of Singapore racing. They’re in for a good season as they have a lot of good horses coming through.
“It was a good ride from Benny. There is a frontrunning bias today, and they took a good sit off the lead.”
Woodworth, who will recombine with Walker aboard 2018 Singapore Horse of the Year Elite Invincible in Wednesday’s Fortune Bowl (1400m), said he had a good drag behind Cru Bourgeois and his mount got onto the bridle once he was exposed for his run to the line.
“He jumped off fast, he had a good gate. We tracked the favourite throughout,” said the Malaysian jockey.
“The favourite was very green, he was running in and out. At the top of the straight, my horse started to quicken up nicely and went past the favourite easily.
“He ran in after the winning post. He’s still green, but he’ll improve after that first run.
“On his conformation, he’s a very big horse and the mile will be okay for him.” -STC