Nunes And Bakeel Celebrate A Smart Win

Kranji action on Sunday

Bakeel lived up to expectations after a relatively easy win in the SG$75,000 Novice race at Kranji on Sunday.

The Sioux Nation three-year-old ran a luckless second first-up in a Class 4 Division 2 race on 24 February after running wide throughout, but his regular  jockey Manoel Nunes was determined to turn things around after the pair got caught in a similar sticky situation this time.

Bakeel (Manoel Nunes) off to a smart win second-up (Pic – STC)

After breaking from gate six, Bakeel landed in fifth position in the running, albeit out wide behind leader Supreme Liner (Carlos Henrique), while the trio of October (Ryan Curatolo), Lim’s Smythe (Koh Teck Huat) and Super Baby (Iskandar Rosman) jostled for second behind Supreme Liner.

With the first 400m sectionals run at a slow pace of 26.3 seconds, Nunes could risk losing sight of Supreme Liner in the homestraight, so he opted to move closer and was sitting outside the leader by the 850m mark.

Supreme Liner maintained a two-length gap but Bakeel ran upsides to him shortly after the home turn. With a single whip of reminder from Nunes at the 350m, Bakeel sailed past his adversary for an easy three-length win.

Supreme Liner was brave in second while Lim’s Smythe ran another one-and-a-quarter lengths way in third. The winning time was 1 min 23.83 secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.

A debut winner previously trained by ex-Kranji handler Michael Clements, Bakeel was at his second run and first win for trainer Steven Burridge. He was pleased with the Al-Arabiya Stable-owned gelding’s win and will proceed to run him in the upcoming Three-Year-Old feature races.

“I thought he ran very well first-up (on 24 February). He ran even better than I expected because he was caught wide and things didn’t work out,” said the veteran Australian conditioner.

“He was caught wide again this time but Nunes made the move to get up there.

“Bakeel a very nice horse. It’s a pity he had to do that wind operation but touchwood, he looks alright at present and everything’s okay.

“He was making some noise when he came over and we had him scoped. Thanks to Singapore Turf Club Deputy Head veterinary surgeon, Dan Shaw. He’s done a good job with the wind operation.

“Bakeel’s run in the 3YO races and we’ll take him back to 1200m. He’s a Singapore Guineas horse I suppose because he’s given every indication that he’ll see out the 1600m.”

Last year, the Gr2 Singapore Guineas was the third Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old series and it will be held on 18 May this year. The series no longer exists this year but the three Group races, with the two other being the Gr3 Singapore 3YO Sprint on 6 April and the Gr2 Singapore 3YO Classic on 27 April, will continue to be run.

Nunes was spot-on about Bakeel being his 702th winner in Singapore, but reckoned the gelding still had room for improvement.

“He’s a big baby and still learning. He’ll learn to get there with more races,” said the Brazilian ace.

“I rode him to get some cover and I wanted to teach him how to finish off the race, but we ended up three, four deep and nobody wants to go forward. Everybody put the brakes on.

“I had no choice but to let the horse go because I know one of my dangers was trainer James Peters’ horse, Supreme Liner, but Bakeel was always travelling comfortably.

“He just doesn’t know what to do and gets a bit lost when he hits the front.”

With two wins and one second in five starts, Bakeel has taken his earnings to a shade under SG$100,000 for connections.

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