Japanese stayer got Wind back in his sails

Japanese stayer Wind Trail bounced back to winning ways in the $70,000 Kranji Stakes C race over 1800m on Saturday.

GOLDEN FLAME winning the CLASS 4
GOLDEN FLAME winning the CLASS 4 Picture: Singapore Turf Club

Wind Trail winning the CLASS 4
Wind Trail winning the CLASS 4 Picture: Singapore Turf Club

The son of Screen Hero has gone without a win since May 2019 when he brought up the last of his three wins (all under French jockey Marc Lerner). Granted he was sparingly raced at last year's COVID-19-affected season, but he had not been showing the same zip either.

Still, trainer Hideyuki Takaoka has kept the faith in the six-year-old, slowly nurturing him back to his form of old.

Wind Trail ndeed showed a noticeable return to form with two thirds in Class 4 middle-distance events before finally franking that resurgence on Saturday.

Patiently ridden by Lerner again, Wind Trail used his superior turn of foot when the gaps came up at the top of the straight, pinging away to a two-length lead before being eased down close to the line.

Dancing Rain (Troy See) took second place 1 ¼ lengths away, just staving On Line (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin) off by a neck.

Returning $29 for a $5 outlay, Wind Trail clocked 1min 49.39secs for the 1800m on the Long Course, and has now racked in excess of $155,000 in stakes earnings for Japanese outfit Galahad Racing Stable.

Takaoka was at the double after combining earlier with Lerner to saddle Be Bop ($24) to a third win in the $30,000 Class 5 race over 1700m.

"Marc rode Wind Trail very well. He knows the horse well," said the Japanese mentor.

"You saw how he started to look around and stop when he hit the front. He even started to hang out.

"Another 50m, he would have lost the race. He's a horse who cannot go to the front too soon, but at the same time, if you leave it too late, he may not have the same burst."

Lerner for one seems to have mastered that quirk down pat given he has now steered the Japanese-owned gelding to all his four wins at Kranji.

"I really like this horse. I won three races on him two years ago," he said.

"At the beginning of last year, he had no form. He has taken some time to find his form back.

"His last few runs have been encouraging. He was knocking on the door.

"Today, he had the conditions favouring him and he won a nice race.

"Mr Takaoka's horses are starting to find their form back - like Be Bop earlier. It's always a pleasure to ride a winner for the team."

With that riding double, Lerner consolidates his first place on the Singapore jockeys' premiership, one clear of fellow Frenchman Louis-Philippe Beuzelin, who hit one back with Prosperous Return ($24) in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1400m.

Singapore Turf Club