SINGAPORE - The very wayward Super Ninetyseven restored plenty of confidence in his camp after he came from the tailend to score first-up from a two-month spell on Sunday.
Blessed with stacks of talent, the Show A Heart three-year-old tends to throw it all away in his races. This was evidenced at his last two runs in the last two legs of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1,400m) and the Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1,600m).
He was his own worst enemy throughout the races especially with his erratic storming runs in the home straight, only to find nemesis Stepitup in the way on both occasions.
Regular partner Joao Moreira could not be faulted for giving the untractable gelding every chance in those last two defeats, and neither can trainer Michael Freedman, who has tried everything to mend the Joy N Happiness Stableowned gelding's ways.
Freedman came up with a lugging bit in a bid to straighten him up as he resumed in Sunday's $125,000 Mayo Music 2005 Stakes Kranji Stakes A race over 1,400m.
Regardless of his quirks, he had certainly not lost his admirers as he was still the subject of a lot of support to start at $7.
Punters and connections alike were right on the button this time as Super Ninetyseven came from well back to scream home by ½ length from RED BEARD with MAKKURA third another ½ length away. The winning time was 1min 22.04sec for the 1,400m on the Long Course.
Despite the positive outcome, Freedman said there was still room for improvement.
"I've had a lot of grey hair over this horse. It's been very frustrating trying to iron his issues out," said the Australian handler.
"I just wish he got his head right because he is a very talented horse. In saying this, he was a little bit better with the lugging bit today.
"He's maturing a bit now, but it's just this awful way he just wants to lay in all the time." Moreira said Super Ninetyseven remained one of the most challenging horses he has thrown his leg over in Singapore, but he is certainly worth not giving up on.
"The lugging bit was a big help as he ran more in a straight line today, but a lot of credit must go to (assistant trainer) James Peters who has done a great job trying to correct his bad habits.
"I also noticed he has developed the bad habit of jumping slowly, but we can't do much about it to be honest. If you stir him up he goes crazy.
"He was still looking around a lot and hanging in, but fortunately, I was able to keep him straight today.
"I've always thought he was a nice horse from Day 1. He just has to put it together and he will be a much better racehorse then."
Super Ninetyseven has now chalked up a handy record of five wins and four seconds from 10 runs for stakes earnings that have just tipped over the $400,000 mark.
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