Racing: An absolutely fine piece of work

DEBUT WIN: Newcomer Absolutely (R Shafiq astride) winning the Restricted Maiden race at Kranji last Sunday.

SINGAPORE - They weren't ABSOLUTELY sure that he would do the job. So, they sent him off as the fifth pick in the 11-horse event at Kranji last Sunday afternoon.

With just one trial under his belt, no one could have been ABSOLUTELY sure what they were going to get from the youngster who was having his first start. since arriving in October last year.

Well, it panned out ABSOLUTELY fine for all concerned when ABSOLUTELY the horse took Race 2 with plenty of authority.

Prepared for his debut by trainer Cliff Brown, Absolutely could not have been produced looking any fitter.

Still, racegoes were apprehensive and they eventually sent out GOLD LINE as favourite, just ahead of WASHINGTON BAY and IMPERIOUS in that pecking order.


Alas, punters were off the mark as ABSOLUTELY beat them all to score by two lengths over the not-so-easy 1,400m journey.

The handsome three-year-old wasn't the neatest out of the gates. Indeed, when the field made that first turn on the far side, jockey R Shafiq had a ton of horse beneath him and just two behind him.

With attention focused on the battle up front between Washington Bay, Imperious and Gold Line, Shafiq - who was having his first ride in the famous colours of Auric Stable - marked time until the top of the straight was reached.

Once there, he got a run between horses and went after the leaders. With 200m to go, he had them covered. With 150m to go, you could put down your glasses. Absolutely was that dominant. He would canter away to win by two lengths.

Owned by the Sungs who - in their long association with Singapore and Malaysian racing - have trotted out many champions of the turf, the New Zealand-bred three-year-old certainly looks to be another in that category and we will be looking forward to seeing him at his next start.

After all, from what we saw of him yesterday, he does look like he's going to develop into something special as he matures further. Absolutely rewarded his backers with a $43 win dividend.

Another stable with plenty of success in big races also shared the limelight.

Big Valley Stable, whose stayer El Dorado won the Singapore Gold Cup on three occasions, sent out an exciting filly to capture Race 4 - an "Initiation" run over the mile.


MAREA NEGRO, who had two runs under her girth before yesterday's outing, showed tremendous fighting spirit when she ran a front-running race to land the prize.

Out of the gates cleanly, apprentice jockey TH Koh got her to the front until the 700m mark where she surrendered the lead to newcomer KEVIN ELEVEN.

However, once they turned for the run home, Marea Negro again took command and, in a desperate charge to the line, the filly prevailed by a three-quarters of a length.

Trained by Hideyuki Takaoka, she paid $49 for the win and $13 for the place.

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