Gatecrasher Star Emperor (NZ) (Red Giant) came with a late flourish to cause a massive boilover in the $70,000 Canada Cup 2019, a Class 3 Division 2 race over 1200m on Friday night.
With the race launched at 100 miles an hour, a backmarker was typically the best bet to finish on top at the right end of the race, but not many expected Leticia Dragon’s $104 longshot to be the one to knock the favourites out of their sails, even if the former New Zealand one-time winner did win one race (over 1200m in a Class 4 Non Premier race) in three starts at Kranji.
Dwelling at the back from the start, the Red Giant five-year-old probably drew just a passing glance from the race-caller when he went through the field. Even if he was inching forward at the 400m, he still looked a 1000-1 chance to outgun the likes of Jomo or Julius Caesar who were then giving him at least a five-length start.
In one fell swoop, the fast-closing Star Emperor settled the stalemate for a soft one-length win from Julius Caesar with Safeer in third place another head away, while Jomo was beaten a neck out of a podium finish. The winning time was 1min 10.39secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.
Dragon said the win might stun most, but deep down, she knew Star Emperor was no slouch, but was just worried he had not been affected by a recent post-race mishap.
“This horse actually showed a lot of potential last year, but unfortunately he injured himself after his last start,” she said.
“He was in the holding area, but suddenly, he flipped and crashed through the rails. He got concussed on the head and had some neck abrasions.
“But luckily, he’s come through that well, and he’s bounced back with a nice win tonight.”
John, who was riding Star Emperor for the first time in a race, actually knows the chestnut gelding well for having worked with him last year when he was Dragon’s senior track rider, before his jockey’s licence was reinstated this season.
“The pace was too fast and I know Jomo would set a strong pace,” said the former Singapore champion apprentice jockey.
“He tried to lay in in the straight. I had to switch him off and he switched on again, and thankfully at the right time to win the race.
“The 1400m will be much better for him. Tonight, he was fresh-up and that’s why he won over 1200m; to me, he needs longer.”
Known as Stealth Giant in New Zealand, Star Emperor has now established a promising record of two wins in only four starts for prizemoney around the $60,000 mark for the Five Two Racing Stable. -STC