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Sacred Buddy scores strong win on debut

November 7, 2023 at 4:50:56 AM

Though unwanted in the betting on exposed trial form, the Desmond Koh-trained Sacred Buddy still blitzed his rivals in the $20,000 Open Maiden race (1200m) on Saturday.

Though unwanted in the betting on exposed trial form, the Desmond Koh-trained Sacred Buddy still blitzed his rivals in the $20,000 Open Maiden race (1200m) on Saturday.

Purchased as an unraced galloper from New Zealand on the back of three solid trials, Sacred Buddy arrived at Koh's stable in July and took no time to settle into life at Kranji.

A few months later, the four-year-old son of Sacred Falls had his one and only trial in Singapore, where he finished second to Silver Dragon on 10 October in the fair time of 1 min 1.85secs.

That trial – and the fact that Silver Dragon finished down the field at his race debut just a week earlier in a Restricted Maiden race over 1100m on 28 October – had punters looking elsewhere to Star North as the firm $13 favourite, while Bureaucrat and Windfall were the second elects at $23.

On jumping, though, it was Sacred Buddy ($158) who pinged the gates from barrier nine, but he was temporarily headed by Pacific Snoopy (Clyde Leck) in the backstraight before the latter dropped back to second at the 750m, with Cheerful Baby (Kasim A'isisuhairi) third on the rails.

At the 500m, Iskandar looked to be struggling to hold Sacred Buddy together and the pair had pulled their way to a one-length lead heading into the straight before the young jockey gave his mount some reins at the 350m.

The margin slowly extended to two lengths but when Iskandar got serious with a couple of cracks of the whip at the 200m, Sacred Buddy found another gear – maybe two – to extend his margin to close to five lengths in a heartbeat, before being eased down to win officially by four-and-a-half-lengths on the line.

Nothing really tested the winner at any stage in the straight, with Tantheman (Akmazani Mazuki) the best late from the chasing pack to finish second and Sacred Gold (Vlad Duric) ran another three-quarters-of-a-length back in third.

The winning time was 1min 9.99secs for the 1200m on the Short Course. Sacred Buddy's debut win added over $10,000 of earnings for the Blazing Expectations Stable.

Although Koh was not on course to cheer on his 15th winner of the year, the Singaporean handler was more than happy with how things panned out from afar.

"He's a nice horse," said Koh.

"He was training well towards this race. He was eating well and training with enthusiasm.

"We had the jockey (Iskandar) urged him forward. He (Sacred Buddy) was still a little green but he's got good tactical speed. He was a little keen on the rider around the bend, but he ran on well.

"It was a nice ride by Iskandar considering the horse looked hard to settle. He didn't go too early, which was a good move, and the horse responded when asked for an effort.

"A good ride and a good win."

Iskandar, who pulled off a brace after he also saluted on the Tan Kah Soon-trained Pacific Sonic ($10) in the $20,000 Maiden race over 1100m two races earlier, was not as bullish as Koh before the race, but he was glad with how things turned out.

"I rode him in trackwork, but he didn't show much," said the two-kilo claimer from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"I wanted to ride him in third or fourth with cover but instead, we led.

"The horse was nervous but gave me a good feel in the straight. He won very well."

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