Better Life storms to victory in $1.15m Singapore Derby

Better Life, ridden by English jockey Alan Munro, galloping to the Emirates Singapore Derby crown on Sunday despite a slow start.

SINGAPORE - Even Mother Nature could not deny Better Life as it stormed to victory in the $1.15 million Emirates Singapore Derby on Sunday.

Pre-race drizzle had punters at Kranji racecourse wondering if the overwhelming race favourite - who had never run on soft ground before - could cope.

But, ridden by the irrepressible Alan Munro, the four-year-old mare burst ahead at the 300-metre mark to claim top honours in the 16-horse showpiece.

She finished 11/4 lengths ahead of Wild Geese, which was a tighter winning margin than many had predicted.

Munro, however, was just pleased to be home first, mouthing the word "Phew" when speaking to reporters.

The gleeful-looking Englishman said: "We left it late but she showed just why she's the fastest horse in the field.

"A slow start was expected, given how long she's been out."

The stayer had not competed since the Singapore Airlines International Cup in May, when she finished seventh - the only time she has finished out of the top four positions in all races.

Singapore-based trainer Hideyuki Takaoka was full of praise for his charge, who claimed her eighth win in 14 races, and her third Group One victory.

He said: "What more can I say about this horse? She was magnificent again when it mattered.

"The break may have made her a bit rusty but it also gave her the energy to make that late push."

Australian gelding Goodpack got off to a good start and retained a favourable position close to the rail till the 500m mark.

It was then that Munro decided to fire up Better Life, who was bunched up in the middle pack until then.

The 46-year-old jockey said: "I heard a lot of shouting around me, which meant it was time to kick off.

"She got into gear and that's when I knew there was no catching her."

Even Wild Geese's trainer Steven Burridge paid tribute to the 109-rated winner, saying: "Better Life was just too good and it was a deserved win. I'm just glad we put up a good fight and came home second."

Tropaios took third spot while Raziyya Of Sydney - considered one of Better Life's closest rivals - claimed fourth place.