Without taking anything away from Bruce Marsh’s Laser Storm (Wong Chin Chuen), though, the result to the Kranji Stakes A race might have been different if the Theo Kieser-trained Super Winner (Antonio da Silva) was not badly crowded by his stablemate Goal Keeper (Salim Yusoff) at a crucial stage of the race.
Super Winner lost a few strides and with 59.5kgs on his back, not many gave the even-money favourite much of a chance to peg back Laser Storm who had in the meantime scooted clear.
But such is the bottomless courage of the Polytrack specialist who picked himself off the canvas to go after Laser Storm. The Kaphero five-year-old came back with a relentless run to finish locked together with Laser Storm right on the line.
After a few nerve-wracking minutes, the dead-heat result was semaphored to the delight – albeit a little watered down when it comes to sharing the spoils - of both camps, but also one that was tinged with two different vibes.
To Super Winner’s trainer Theo Kieser and owner Mr Soh Seng Lye, either way, their gun sprinter was taking his already well-deserved place on a plane bound for Korea where he will contest the 700 million wons Group 1 Korea Sprint (1200m) on September 11.
“I’m very happy with his run today. To come back with 59.5kgs after he got smashed a few metres from the winning post was just outstanding,” said Kieser.
“He always tries his best and he is such a genuine horse. Without that incident, he should have won by a bigger margin.
“Anyway, it was a nice last prep run before going to Korea. The only concern I have for him there is how he will handle the deep sand, it’s a big unknown quantity.”
No such worries for Laser Storm’s connections in the aftermath of the shared win. To them, it was more of a welcomed return to the limelight for a famous set of colours, serving as a nice prelude to the impending comeback of its most famous flagbearer, champion galloper War Affair, possibly in the Group 3 Jumbo Jet Trophy (1400m) next Sunday.
The Ong family has been relatively quiet this year, not only during War Affair’s protracted absence, but also with their other wards such as Classified and Platoon going for a spell. As a matter of fact, those two are on the comeback trail as well, and Laser Storm ($56), who was at his third run back, certainly had the Ongs in raptures.
Marsh said the Lucky Owners six-year-old owed his success to a smart ride from in-form apprentice jockey Wong Chin Chuen, but also paid credit to the galloper for the spirited way he held his own against Super Winner.
“It was a very good ride from the kid. I was only worried by the inside (Laser Storm drew one) as the winners have been coming from the outside today,” said the Kiwi handler who was saddling just the one runner for the day.
“I felt we would win when he came with a big run on the outside but credit to the topweight for a great effort. I’m very happy we gave him a good fight.”
Unlike Super Winner who is heading overseas, Laser Storm, who was ringing up his eighth win from 23 starts, will potter around with the good pickings available in his own backyard.
“I’ve got a race lined up for him in two weeks’ time. It’s a BM89 race over 1400m,” said Marsh.
Wong, who went on to complete a winning treble with Satellite Man in the next race, said he just paid heed to Marsh’s instructions and he was lucky he was able to pick his way through the field upon straightening.
“They went a little fast early and I was happy to just let my horse sit relaxed at the back,” said the Malaysian apprentice jockey, who is now only two wins behind Troy See on the Singapore apprentice jockey’s log.
“When I got him balanced up, he started to improve and once he saw daylight in the home straight, he quickened up real good.
“On the line, I actually thought I ran second and even said ‘well done’ to Antonio. I was so happy when I returned to scales and saw it was a dead-heat.”
Da Silva said he had no doubt Super Winner should have been the outright winner but was certainly not sneezing at half-a-win, especially when it looked more like a second place at best at the furlong pole.
“He travelled really well even though he was wide throughout,” said the Brazilian jockey who is booked to partner Super Winner in Seoul as well.
“He got chopped out by his stable companion but I was still confident he could come back as he’s such a good horse. He’s got such a big heart.”
Super Winner was recording his 11th win from 18 outings for stakes money that has now exceeded the $300,000 mark for Mr Soh while Laser Storm will see his bank swollen to around $330,000 with that shared win.
G2 - The Totepool National Spirit Hurdle Race (class 1)
G2 - Paddy Power Johnstown Nov Hdle
Grade B - Nas Na Riogh Nov Hcp Chase
G3 - Paddy Power Newlands Chase
G1 - Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup