Superlative comes through at odds

Superlative was not quite how one could describe the Gold Stable’s relative newcomer in either his work on the training tracks or inconspicuous debut in August last year, but the output at his second race certainly was closer to it.

SUPERLATIVE winning the RESTRICTED MAIDEN Picture: Singapore Turf Club

The three-year-old son of 2013 Australian Guineas winner Ferlax was as expected given a wide berth in Sunday's $75,000 Restricted Maiden-2 race over 1200m, but a snug ground-saving run on the rails courtesy of barrier No 1 was instrumental to the $210 shock win.

From the top of the straight to the 200m, the top prize could be vied for by at least five chances, including race-leader The Brotherhood (Benny Woodworth), War Frontier (John Sundradas), Declare War (Vlad Duric), Stormy View (Krisna Thangamani) and Superlative, but under Juan Paul van der Merwe's determined handling, it was the latter who crept up in between runners to poke his head in front 100m out before edging past War Frontier for the victory.

The winning margin was half-a-length from War Frontier with debutant Kharisma (John Powell) working home nicely for third another half-length away. The winning time was 1min 10.54secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.

"Winner are grinners" was probably the best way to sum up trainer Cliff Brown's frank expression of surprise at seeing Superlative upset the applecart on Sunday.

"It's a big surprise. I thought he needed further than that, but it's racing and things like that happens," said the Australian handler, who prepares the bulk of the Yongs' Gold Stable team of horses at Kranji.

"He's a big strong horse but he's been improving. We'll take it."

Van der Merwe, who has slowly turned into the go-to-man for Brown's lowly-handicapped runners since his win on Lonhro Gold last October, was just as stunned by the result.

"I'm very surprised with the win. He's been a handful at home," said the South African lightweight jockey.

"I took him to the barrier trials and he was very nervous and scared at everything, but the ability is there.

"Hopefully he can calm down. Well done to Cliff."

Bought as an unraced in New Zealand when known as Rolledoats, Superlative  has earned his oats with a first paycheque worth around $40,000 for the Gold Stable.

Singapore Turf Club