Posted On: Monday, 17 April 2017
Champion jockey Manoel Nunes' strong faith in Infantry was repaid manifold when the Tavistock four-year-old bounced back to the winner's circle in the $S200,000 Listed JBBA Moonbeam Vase (1800m) in Singapore on Sunday.
Nunes' wish for a strong pace was granted in the 11th renewal of the feature, allowing the Alwin Tan-trained Infantry to settle in an ideal spot in mid-division just ahead of favourite Gilt Complex.
That pair began their run together but the advantage Infantry held over Gilt Complex proved unassailable, even if Cliff Brown's gallant bay ran his heart out inside the last 300m, only to fall short by a head. The winning time was 1:47.43secs.
Nunes could not hold back his joy after the line as he raised his hand in delight.
"I thanked God for another big win. Competition is tough this year, but I'm slowly finding my way back to the top," said the three-time Singapore champion jockey.
"Alwin has done a great job with this horse. We were over the Long Course, and he really kept fighting to the line. I never had any doubt he would see out the 1800m. He is going the right way for the Derby."
The Emirates Singapore Derby (2000m) has always been the long-haul target for Tan's galloper, even if he was a little apprehensive how he would fare at his first test over 1800m.
"To be honest, I didn't have a lot of confidence about him going for the first time over 1800m, but this horse has such a big heart," Tan said.
"I would say he is the best horse in my yard at the moment. He will be going for the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge now."
The Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge kicks off with the Stewards' Cup (1400m) on May 28, followed by the Patron's Bowl (1600m) on June 18 before wrapping up with the Emiratres Singapore Derby (2000m).
Rodd said he gave Gilt Complex every conceivable chance but he knew it would take a supreme effort to get past Infantry.
"Infantry is a very good horse. We tracked him but when he kicked on in the straight, it was almost impossible to catch him," said the Australian jockey.
With that seventh win, Infantry has seen his stakes earnings bulge close to the $S675,000 mark for owner, the Kajorn Petch R No 2 Stable.
Infantry was a $7000 graduate of Cambridge Stud's 2013 New Zealand Bloodstock National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale at Karaka.
Sir Patrick Hogan, who bred Infantry with his wife Justine, Lady Hogan, last week announced Tavistock's service for 2017 would remain unchanged at $65,000 plus GST plus live foal guarantee. - Singapore Turf Club
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