Katak Not Disgraced After Break

Two Saffers in action at Kranji

While still finding his feet, South African Calvin Habib had to be content with just a fourth place from his first four rides at Kranji in Singapore on Sunday.

But it was another stalwart in Cape Winter series star Katak who ran a cracker for second after a rest in the feature on the day.

But none had a chance with Street Of Dreams who scooted clear with a featherweight of 50.5kgs in the SG$100,000 Kranji Stakes A race over 1400m on Sunday.

On the back of four straight wins and the postage-stamp weight, there was plenty of confidence from connections and pundits for Street Of Dreams, but few probably envisaged the ease in which the four-year-old son of Dundeel put away his rivals with as he was eased down by jockey Ronnie Stewart late to win by two lengths over a brave Katak (Vlad Duric).

Street of Dreams (Ronnie Stewart) wins Kranji Stakes A race in style (Pic – STC)

Sent out the co-favourite with Katak in the strong Kranji Stakes A field, the Steven Burridge-trained rising star pinged the gates before settling beautifully into a handy position with cover behind a quartet of horses that included two fancied runners, Mr Black Back (Wong Chin Chuen) and Sky Eye (Manoel Nunes).

For all intents and purposes, the race was set up for a battle royale, but with Stewart peeling off the leaders’ heels at the 500m and cruising to the front with no effort in the straight, it turned into a one-horse affair when Street Of Dreams put lengths on his rivals in a matter of strides at the 300m.

Katak – who was carrying a whoping nine kilos more than Street Of Dreams – was the only serious challenger. He was tracking the winner into the straight, but the Ricardo Le Grange-trained gelding had a heavy weight and a very smart horse to run down over the final furlong.

The final winning margin was no indication of the dominance of the victory and while Katak would have lost no friends with his excellent first-up effort after an injury lay-off, it was another three lengths to the honest Sacred Croix (Benny Woodworth) in third with the fast-finishing Quarter Back (Ibrahim Mamat) another half-a-length back in fourth.

The winning time was a slick 1 min 20.65secs for the 1400m on the Short Course and on the yielding track, which suggested that the win was a little bit special, but Burridge was quick to point out that it was the lightweight that made all the difference.

“(Owner) Joe (Giovanni) and I had a talk about it a little while ago and we thought if he goes to Class 3, he gets 59 (kilos) but if he comes here, (he would carry) fifty-and-a-half (kilos),” said the Australian conditioner to racing presenter Scott Bailey after the race.

“If he’s ever going to beat them, it was today.

“Ronnie rode him very well. Manoel would have probably rode him if he could make the weight, but Ronnie rode him in trackwork and he liked the horse.

“As long as he (Street Of Dreams) can stay sound in his wind and in his legs – but no problem with his legs – just the wind, which at this stage is all good, I think he can go a long way. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

“He’s kept on improving but the weight was a big telling factor today. Next time he’s going to meet them a little differently, so he has to improve again.”

Burridge – who made it a race-to-race double after Invincible Tycoon (Marc Lerner) won the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1200m in the last race – has options for Street Of Dreams’ next run, but will let the horse decide.

“It will all depend on how he pulls up,” he continued.

“There is another Kranji Stakes A race over a mile in a few weeks’ time (March 4) but he may go straight to the Gr1 Raffles Cup over 1600m on March 25.”

His jockey – who had to shed weight to ride the Australian-bred gelding – was glowing in his praise of what could be a force to reckon with in Group races this year.

“I was pretty excited after I trialled him,” said Stewart.

“In saying that, it’s always different on race day. I did it tough to get down (to 50.5kgs) but in all fairness to Steve, he asked me three weeks ago, so I had plenty of time to prepare myself for it.

“It was still tough to get down (to the weight) but I knew it was going to be worth it.

“He’s a serious horse. I was a little concerned when he jumped as good as he did but he did switch off.

“I got there (to the lead) a little too soon, but it was just nice when I put a couple around him (whip), he pulled away like a really good horse does.

“I haven’t sat on a horse that felt that good in Singapore for a while.”

When asked by Bailey to compare Street of Dreams to the mighty mare Jolie’s Shinju, whom Stewart partnered to a clean sweep in all three legs of the previous edition of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge series in 2009, the affable hoop was cautious but not dismissive.

“Definitely. Different sort of horses but (even though) I know he only had a lightweight today, the way he won was pretty dominant and he gives you a great feel,” he said.

“I think they will have a lot of fun with that horse.”

Street Of Dreams’ fifth straight win took his career prizemoney to a shade over SG$170 000.

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