A brilliant cucumber-cool ride by Brazillian jockey Joao ‘Magic’ Moreira ensured an unlikely win for Super Easy in Friday’s Singapore Guineas. This victory made it ten from ten for the Darci Brahma colt and a clean sweep in the Singapore Three Year Old Challenge.
The dream, which looked in tatters at the 350m marker, came to reality for his thrilled Australian trainer Michael Freedman, who said afterwards that the Melbourne Spring Carnival could be his next port of call.
After wins in the three year old Sprint and the three year old Classic, Super Easy was a well supported favourite to clinch the $150 000 bonus. And everything looked on track until the halfway mark of the race.
Jumping smartly from his number 1 draw, he was settled well but eager enthusiasm by many of his opponents saw him drop out to closer to last as the field went through the 800m marker. Totality set a good gallop from the outset with El Milagro and Let’s See Action at his heels.
But at the top of the straight things were going pear-shaped. Super Easy was closer to the action but with traffic ahead at every turn!
Pressed on by Shuttle Man on his outside, he switched to the inside for a run but the gap closed. He rolled back out across heels, but again could not find any way out. In the process, he took a bump from another runner.
As he went for a gap between Let’s See Action and El Milagro, he again got squeezed, but as interrupted as his momentum had been, he burst back into full cry inside the last 100m as he finally found clear galloping room. Stablemate Cash Luck (Stephen Baster) was also running on but class and sheer brilliance combined to see the champion get there by a neck.
Cash Luck, who was having his first run from an unsuccessful Dubai campaign, ran a super second for a stable exacta. Shuttle Man battled on gamely for third another three parts of a length away while Better Life did her best work at the finish to run fourth another 1 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 36.57secs on the yielding track.
In winning, Super Easy had emulated the triple-crown feats of Better Than Ever (2010) and Gingerbread Man (2011). It was Moreira’s second Gr1 win at Kranji in four seasons, his first being in the 2010 Patron’s Bowl on board Intercept.
While he was being congratulated for working his magic yet again, Moreira himself played down the part he took in the incredible scramble to the winning post.
“I was always confident he would win as long as I could get a run,” said the Brazilian jockey.
“I was happy where I was even though we were so far back as he was always travelling on the bit.
“But when the other horse (Shuttle Man) pushed us to the inside, I didn’t have much choice but to go looking for a gap on the inside.But again, the gap at the 300m closed and I took a bump. I then took him back to the outside, but again I got bumped.It’s only when a gap between El Milagro and Let’s See Action came up that I knew I could still win the race. He’s got such a big heart and fought all the way to the line for an amazing win.”
Super Easy has now scored 10 wins from as many starts for stakes of $1.3 million.
Earlier in the afternoon, the running of the $325 000 Gr2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe saw South African jockey Greg Cheyne come within a head of winning the feature on first-timer Easy Man for trainer Leslie Khoo. But it was Australian trainer Steven Burridge who was celebrating after Pit Stop had scored a narrow win in the 1200m race under seven-time Malaysian champion jockey Azhar Ismail. Pitstop’s connections enjoyed a hefty payday and scooped the purse of $325 000 plus the Aushorse bonus of $135 000.
Pitstop is fully qualified for the bonus as he is a Magic Millions purchase bought for $21,000 at last year’s Magic Millions National Yearling Sale at the Gold Coast before being sold for $100,000 at the Magic Millions National Horses in Training Sale last October.
He is by exciting first season sire Zizou and from the stakes winning Al Hareb mare Pottinger. the two-year-old is a half brother to the Malaysian stakes performer Blesswithspeed.
The Magic Millions connection goes one step further as Pitstop was bought by the Asian representative of the horse sale outfit, Burridge’s son Wade.
Third place went to another newcomer prepared by Leslie Khoo in Hogwarts Express ridden by Saimee Jumaat. The winning time was 1min 11.31secs for the 1200m (Long Course) on a yielding track.
An emotional Burridge dedicated the win to a host of people including Wade and his staff, but his voice shook the most when he mentioned his senior track rider Darren Murphy, recently injured in a trackwork accident.
“He’s had an interrupted preparation and it’s great to see him win tonight, but I have a special thought for Darren who broke his leg recently,” said the Australian trainer.
“He was the one who rode the horse (Pitstop) all the time. I rang him up this morning and I told him ‘Mate, I think we can get the money’.
The weekend is not ever yet for the Burridge-Azhar combination. They have Speed Baby in Sunday’s $3 million Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup, while Burridge also sends out Captain Obvious in the Krisflyer International Sprint.