where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2024-06-17 00:23:04  

In a tactical showcase at the $100,000 Kranji Stakes A race (1400m) on Sunday, five-time Singapore champion jockey Manoel Nunes masterfully led Ghalib to victory from start to finish. Originally, six horses were entered, but after Senor Don and Ejaz were scratched, only four runners competed. Golden Monkey was the favorite with odds of $7, while Ghalib, trained by Steven Burridge, went off at $13.

Support for So Hi Class increased just before the race, but it was anticipated to be a two-horse contest with strategic maneuvers playing a crucial role. Given Golden Monkey's tendency to run from behind, it was expected that Nunes would take an early lead on Ghalib. True to form, Nunes set a slow pace, controlling the tempo and positioning Ghalib at the front. So Hi Class, ridden by Koh Teck Huat, stayed close on Ghalib's flank, General Command (Daniel Moor) settled one-back on the rails, and Golden Monkey, ridden by Ryan Curatolo, held the rear.

The race dynamics remained unchanged until the final 300 meters, when Nunes urged Ghalib forward, creating a three-length lead over So Hi Class and a four-length gap to Golden Monkey. Despite a strong late run from Golden Monkey, Ghalib’s earlier move secured the win by one-and-a-half lengths, with So Hi Class another half-length behind in third. The race was completed in 1 minute 25.12 seconds over the 1400 meters on the Short Course.

Post-race, Nunes expressed satisfaction with Ghalib’s performance, especially given the quality of the competition. He acknowledged the challenge of facing Golden Monkey, regarded as one of Singapore’s top horses, and praised Ghalib's form and ability to dictate the pace in a small field. He also mentioned that while the 1400 meters was a concern, Ghalib might perform even better over 1200 meters.

Trainer Steven Burridge echoed Nunes' sentiments, considering the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m) and the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) for Ghalib's future races. Burridge noted the strategic decision at the start, where they anticipated that General Command might lead but were prepared for Ghalib to take the front if necessary. He also pointed out the weight advantage, as Golden Monkey carried three more kilos.

Nunes' win on Ghalib marked his 38th victory of the season, putting him ahead in the jockeys’ log, just one win clear of his closest rival, Bruno Queiroz. Additionally, Nunes secured another victory earlier in the day on Flying Fighter in the $20,000 Open Maiden race (1600m), also trained by Burridge.

Ghalib's victory on Sunday was his seventh win in Singapore, bringing his total earnings to over $310,000 for the Al-Arabiya Stable. Burridge praised Ghalib's consistent performance, highlighting the horse’s happiness and good condition as key factors in his success. 

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