Trainer Shane Baertschiger and jockey John Powell had worked out that the Per Incanto three-year-old was better suited by waiting tactics, but with none of his 12 rivals keen to show the way and the fact he jumped from the inside alley, he found himself taking charge by default in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1200m.
They got away fairly cheaply with Glenafton (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) and Back To Life (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) keeping tabs on him at respectable distance. Into the home straight, Vulcan streaked clear to a two-length break as soon as he was given full bore, but it was not the procession most had expected from the $8 hotpot.
The rhythm looked good for most of the straight, but the legs suddenly got weary 50m out. Luckily for him, the advantage he pinched on the chasing pack proved adequate. Lucky Trio (Wong Chin Chuen) came flying home on the outside, but could only cut back the margin to three parts of a length.
Steven Burridge’s grey Lim’s Ray looked like he could give Noh Senari a race-to-race double when he came with a threatening dash at the 200m (he won the opener on Dominic), but he raced greenly and had to settle for third place another head away. The winning time was 1min 11.53secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.
“That’s not the way to ride him. He’s better off sitting in third or fourth, he gets lost in front,” said Baertschiger.
“But there was no speed, JP had no other option but to lead. He’s a much better horse if he can take a sit.
“In the straight, he was still lost, he doesn’t know what he’s doing. There’s plenty of upside to him.
“He won on a yielding track in New Zealand. So, I was not worried about the track today.
“Looking at the form today, I thought he had a good chance to win.”
Powell confirmed Baertschiger’s assessment about the involuntary change of strategy inside the first furlong.
“The instructions were to sit in four or five, but they did not go quick. I then just let him slide to the front,” said the Australian jockey.
“With the soft lead, I thought he would have a kick left in him, but he was walking in the last 50. We’ll take a sit with him next and hopefully he’ll go better.
“There is a certain pigginess about him, though. We still have to work through that.”
A NZ$50,000 purchase as a two-year-old, Vulcan has already recouped that investment with net returns in excess of $50,000 for the MA Racing Stable thanks to Sunday’s win and his debut second in a Restricted Maiden race over 1200m on May 17.