Wind Of Dubai punches the breeze but still salutes

Irish-bred three-year-old Wind Of Dubai overcame a torrid trip four wide to go and scrape home by the barest of margins in the $20,000 Open Maiden race over 1200m on Polytrack on Saturday.

WIND OF DUBAI (yellow blinkers) winning the OPEN MAIDEN
WIND OF DUBAI (yellow blinkers) winning the OPEN MAIDEN Picture: Singapore Turf Club

The son of Pride Of Dubai was registering his first success in four starts, having shown a glimpse of ability at his previous outing when a closing third to Kassab in a similar Open Maiden event, but over 1000m on January 30.

Going on that encouraging run, trainer James Peters could hope for a breakthrough, but when the $26 chance found himself out in the cheap seats for most of the way, a minor placing would still provide some comfort.

But well handled by boom apprentice jockey Hakim Kamaruddin, Wind Of Dubai , though green in the home straight, fought tooth and nail all the way to the line, just holding off the fast-finishing Marine Vanguard (Matthew Kellady) by a nose.

Superman (Yusoff Fadzli) took third place another three parts of a length away, just edging favourite and race-leader Ima (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) out of the podium by a head. The winning time was 1min 12.59secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.

"He had a tough run, was caught four wide, which was not ideal. It was a more meritorious run than it looked, he was really tough at the finish," said Peters.

"He's still green and was hanging out under pressure, but it was great to see him get the win. He ran very well over 1000m last start and we thought 1200m would help.

"He had a good apprentice jockey on him, which helps. This horse is no superstar, but it was good to see him get the job done, especially for his owner KC (Dr Tan Kai Chah of Hippocrates Stable).

"It's been a bit slow for KC of late, but hopefully these young horses of his can start winning races now."

With that 14th win, Hakim cements his lead in the Singapore apprentice jockeys' premiership, maintaining an eight-winner lead on Iskandar Rosman, who hit one back in the next race, the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1200m, aboard Kharisma ($45) who lowered the colours of the odds-on favourite, the previously unbeaten (two-from-two) Starlight (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin).

"I wanted to sit two off the fence but I couldn't get in," said Hakim on the circumstances that led him to taking a scenic tour on the outside of the field.

"Last time he ran over 1000m and this time he was going over 1200m, so I thought he had a good chance, but I was very lucky in the running.

"He got a bit tired in the end but he held on well. He's a horse who can improve further."

Trainer Michael Clements was not too disappointed after Starlight lost his invincibility, confident the Headwater three-year-old will bounce back over more ground.

"He's out of a Zabeel mare. I think he's lost a bit of that early speed, he's looking for more ground now," said Clements.

Singapore Turf Club