Racing: It's a Shaw queue-up

Trainer Patrick Shaw and his big entourage from his three Longines Singapore Gold Cup runners shouted themselves hoarse and jumped with joy with their 1-2 finish in the 85th edition of Group 1 race yesterday.

Quechua, well ridden by jockey Corey Brown, raced away from the final 350m of the Group 1 classic over 2,200m to beat stablemate Emperor's Banquet (Nooresh Juglall) by one and a half lengths and complete a hat-trick in his last three starts.

Third was the Bruce Marsh-trained Cheetah On Fire (Lisa Allpress), three-quarters of a length behind and a neck in front of last year's winner, the Michael Freedman-trained Tropaios (Tommy Berry).

The highly-touted War Affair, who was the horse most racegoers wanted to see win yesterday's $1.35 million showpiece and become the first to win the Singapore Triple Crown Series since its inception in 2000, laboured under the top impost of 58kg to finish fifth, a head away.

The Alwin Tan-trained champion had been so dominant in the first two legs of the series, the Group 1 Panasonic Kranji Mile over 1,600m and the Group 1 Raffles Cup over 1,800m.

Shaw's third runner yesterday, Lizarre, who finished second in 2011, beat only one home in the field of 16.

All his three runners were raced by his long-time owners, the Yongs and their partners under Avengers, Tmen and EMMA Stables in their respective finishing orders.

Yesterday's victory was the second for Shaw and the Yongs, they having won the blue riband of the turf with Mr Line in 2006. That year, Shaw also provided the forecast with War Horn finishing second to Mr Line.


"It feels great. Obviously, this is the big one, after the Singapore International Cup, but to run first and second, I've done it before, and to do it again is quite an achievement," said Shaw, who recently had a tumour removed below his right ear.

When Quechua drew barrier 15 (ran from 13 after both the emergency acceptors could not get their places in the capacity field), there was some concern.

Then tactics came into play, and the plan to go forward turned out to be the winning move.

Said Shaw: "Obviously, yes. I spoke to Corey and he said he'll jump and go, irrespective, and, you know, like I've said, he's a true stayer and he ran a cracker."

Quechua will now head for a well-earned rest, before resuming next year, with the $3 million Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup over 2,000m in May among the agenda, but the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby over the same distance in July is the main target.

Goodman, one of eight-time champion Laurie Laxon's five runners and whom Brown rode to win the Group 2 Chairman's Trophy in July, set the pace.

Brown managed to secure Quechua a nice spot behind the leader after crossing in from his wide berth.

At the backstraight, Goodman led by a length, with Quechua sitting pretty behind. Surprise entry Ideal Guide, who was unbeaten in three starts over 1,400m, was half a length behind with Emperor's Banquet.

War Affair, who was drawn wide as well, was worse than midfield and caught three wide.

Goodman led into the straight and was collared by Quechua at the 350m mark. Cheetah On Fire and Tropaios loomed up menacingly. Emperor's Banquet didn't lift as early as anticipated.

War Affair swung home the widest and made his lunge, but not with the same explosive burst that saw him win so many races.

Brown deftly guided Quechua to the post, much to the delight of his cheering connections.

Emperor's Banquet produced a late run to give Shaw the 1-2 finish for the second time in eight years.

It also capped a great day at the office for the handler, who also won with IN FACT (Race 5), BALE STAR (Race 7) and DAVIDE (Race 8).

This article was first published on November 17, 2014.
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