First-up specialist Aramco strikes again

 Apr 9 2019

Last year’s dual Group 3 winner’s first-up record is outstanding – four from five, including the Group 3 JBBA Rocket Man Sprint (1200m) last year - and after he surged through a sustained run to make Sunday’s $100,000 Japan Racing Association Trophy, a Class 1 race over 1200m, his own, it is a fair bet that tag will stick around for a while.

Freshened up since his fast-finishing third to champion sprinter Lim’s Cruiser in a Kranji Stakes A race over 1200m in November, the Magic Albert six-year-old had been working a treat for his comeback, including two nice barrier trials to top off his condition.

But to come and defeat a stellar field while giving weight to the likes of Zac Kasa (Daniel Moor), Tesoro Privado (Ben Thompson) and King Louis (Nooresh Juglall) was not something trainer Shane Baertschiger could be absolutely bullish he could pull off, but would not have been surprised either if he did.

At the top of the straight, the Australian handler would have probably been happy with a second place. Leader Gingerella (Iskandar Rosman) was locking horns with favourite Zac Kasa (Daniel Moor) while Aramco Horseform was still in the third tier of the race, spotting them around eight lengths.

Again, Aramco just seems to put on wings on those fresh feet of his. With 100m to go, he collared the duelling pair before finishing in advance of Gingerella by three parts of a length with Zac Kasa another nose away in third. The winning time was 1min 8.94secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.

“His first-up record is sensational. He had a good first trial and at the second one, he got knocked down and nearly fell,” said Baertschiger.

“He gave Zac Kasa five kilos, and he broke 1min 9secs. It was a big effort.

“He won’t run in the Rocket Man Sprint (May 5). He will go straight to the Lion City Cup (May 25) where he will be up against Lim’s Cruiser.

“We already have Be Bee and possibly Bold Thruster in the Rocket Man.”

Duric, Aramco’s winning partner at his second Group 3 win in the Garden City Trophy (1200m) two runs back in October, was full of praise for the gelding he now boasts a 100% strike rate with.

“He’s obviously had a good prep for his first-up run. I rode him in one of his two trials,” said the two-time Singapore champion jockey.

“He had a bit of weight today and that was at the back of my mind, but if he raced up to his form, he was a winning chance.

“He will come on by leaps and bounds from today’s win. It will be tougher in the Lion City Cup at weight-for-age, but he will be in the mix.

“A drop of rain will help him, too.”

With that eighth win from 20 starts, Aramco has amassed around $620,000 in prizemoney for the Aramco Stable.

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