Proper Pin In The Leg – But No Stopping Ejaz

The Kranji Saturday highlight

The Steven Burridge-trained Ejaz showed he has more than one string to his bow when winning at his Polytrack debut in the SG$70,000 Class 3 race run over 1100m at Kranji on Saturday.

The win gives connections of the four-year-old son of Street Boss options going forward, as he goes through the grades after overcoming a near career-ending leg injury in March 2023.

And while having what was his first race outing on the Polytrack, punters were happy to follow Ejaz on good trial form, with jockey Manoel Nunes jumping from gate three on the favourite.

Ejaz (Manoel Nunes) overtakes Illustrious (Ryan Curatolo) to win the Class 3 race (Pic – Singapore Turf Club)

But only just, with second favourite Pacific MV (Daniel Moor) also well supported. Although in a drama-filled start, his race was over after bucking badly (after the saddle shifted) and taking no part as the rest of the field settled into the first bend.

Meanwhile, Ejaz was only fairly away but Nunes pushed him along to hold a prominent position behind the Tim Fitzsimmons-trained pair of Hurricane (Bruno Queiroz) and Illustrious (Ryan Curatolo).

And when the flashy grey, Illustrious, took the lead at the 400m, Nunes had Ejaz off his heels and in clean air, with the pair making it a two-horse race with 300m to go.

At the furlong post, Ejaz was still a length in arrears but, under hard riding by Nunes, the gap was shortening by the stride before leveling up at the 100m and drawing away for a comfortable one-and-a-quarter lengths’ win.

Red Dot (Ruan Maia) was eye-catchingly late to finish three-quarters of a length back in third, with Renzo (Bernardo Pinheiro) another two lengths back in fourth. The winning time was 1min 04.39secs for the 1100m on the Polytrack.

And according to the winning trainer, the win was a year in the making with the Singapore Turf Club (STC) Veterinary Department’s Dr Dan Shaw a key player.

“Look, it’s amazing he’s (Ejaz) racing at all given the size of the pin in his leg,” said Burridge.

“So kudos to Dr Dan Shaw and the whole team at the (STC) Vet Department. A horse like this needs attention and he gets it everyday. They (veterinarians) are all top class.

“That was his first win for me and you have to remember he won four-in-a-row before the injury (with ex-Kranji trainer, Michael Clements), so we knew he had plenty of ability.

“So we had to be patient and we thought the Polytrack would be a good track for him given he needs a bit of cushion.

“He only won by a length or so, but it showed he handles the surface and that gives us options to space his runs.

“No doubt he’s good enough for the top grade, just a matter of time. We will look after him and hopefully he gets a chance to win some more races before October.”

Nunes agreed with Burridge that Class 1 beckons for Ejaz and praised patient owners for the opportunity.

“Happy for (owner) Mansour (Al-Ghandi of Al-Arabiya Stable), as he gives Steven and the horse the time to show his best and win again,” said the five-time Champion Singapore jockey.

“You know, just to get him (Ejaz) back racing is a miracle; the vets did a great job. And I’m sure without his injury he would be easily top Class by now.

“And he’s such a lovely horse. Terrific temperament and now he has won on both surfaces, which is good for him.

“The barrier helped today. He jumped a bit slow but when I pushed him along he put himself into a lovely spot behind the grey (Illustrious).

“I didn’t want to go early. But when I asked him, he responded very quickly and won comfortably.

“And he had some in the tank, which is good as he will know he has been in a race when he cools back down at the stables.

“Steven will look after him. Space his runs and I think 1200m will suit him best with his leg issues.”

Ejaz’s fifth win from only nine career starts takes his prizemoney to over SG$190,000 for connections.

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