First-up beaten favourite Wecando turned up stronger physically and mentally to make amends in Race 2 at Kranji last night.
In his debut on March 16, the Steven Gray-trained three-year-old New Zealand-bred was backed down to $12 on the strength of his two trials - a second and a win.
But he raced a bit ungenerously, ruining his chances. Yet, he finished well for second, by two lengths to all-the-way winner Eastiger over 1,200m on turf in Restricted Maiden.
Although it was not easy for a young horse to win second-up, Gray knew he has a handy type who had trimmed up and had worked with a vengeance.
Punters, too, were not about to miss the bandwagon. The smart money arrived by the lorry loads late and Wecando's odds plummeted to $13 for a win, just $2 more than the favourite Kiss Your Song in a similar $85,000 Restricted Terms race but over the Polytrack 1,200m.
It was three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Glen Boss' only ride in the eight-race card and he came to Kranji knowing he was going home a winner.
The race started with Conatus G missing the start. The Daniel Meagher-trained High Limit scooted to the lead from a bunched-up field. Wecando was among them but dropped back to see only one horse, Gingerman, behind him.
High Limit led past the midway stage by a length from Tiger Force, Macho Man and Kiss Your Song hugging the rails. The first sectional, 25.63sec for 400m, was rather slow, so Boss instinctively said giddy'up and Wecando progressed like a good horse.
High Limit showed the way into the straight from Tiger Force, who was neither the animal his name suggests nor a force to be reckoned with. It was Wecando who powered up on the outside and sliced High Limit like a hot knife on butter 300m out. From then on, it was just a question of how far Wecando would win by. It was two lengths but it could have been more had Boss flexed his muscles a bit more.
"Lucky enough Steve put this bloke in, because coming off the back of his first run, he improved on the track," said Boss.
"His mental attitude has improved a lot. I come here with one ride and thought he was going to win. I really like this horse. Full credit to Steve. He has given the horse the time to come for him.
"He was very immature and really did not know what he was doing but Steve actually gave him the time and, when asked the question, he sort of knew the horse was going to deliver, because he has sort of mentally grown up and he has got a bit stronger."
Gray was rapt for co-owner, Elaine Chen, as Wecando was bought at the Ready-To-Run sales in New Zealand for only NZ$40,000 (S$38,600) but the young horse has now amassed about $60,000 in stakes from the win and his second placing.
Before Wecando's victory, last night's proceedings kicked off with a massive boilover when the Leslie Khoo-trained King Of Thieves stole Race 1 with a staggering $600 payout for a $5 win bet.
Khoo's other runner, Kubera Chief, was the $13 favourite. The horse led before tiring to finish third. It was certainly a long time between drinks for King Of Thieves, whose other success was on Jan 15, 2016.
Friday's South Africa results
1st 8 Madame Speaker ($9-$7)
2nd 9 Seattle Mermaid ($6)
3rd 2 Barrat ($11)
4th 5 Kissmebackfoot
Place Forecast (8-9) $3, (2-8) $12, (2-9) $13
Trio $23 Quartet $531
Scratching: 6 Ras Algethi
1st 3 Final Chance ($27-$7)
2nd 9 Tin Tan ($5.10)
3rd 1 Perfect Peace ($6)
4th 4 Royal Applause
Place Forecast (3-9) $7, (1-3) $4, (1-9) $2.50
Quartet No winner ($476 jackpot carried forward to next race)
Scratching: 5 Samurai Dragon
1st 2 No Fly Zone ($21-$8)
2nd 11 Cape Leopard ($7)
3rd 1 The Goon Show ($7)
4th 6 Zettabyte
Place Forecast (2-11) $9, (1-2) $8, (1-11) $7
Trio $25 Quartet $1,087
Scratching: 9 Dan The Man
1st 6 Mischievious ($46-$19)
2nd 7 Jade Ore ($12)
3rd 2 Kazuri (No 3rd dividend)
4th 5 Mocha To Go
Place Forecast Refund
Tierce $399 Trio $28 Quartet $585 ($636 carried forward)
Scratchings: 3 Imperadora, 8 Graciano
1st 5 Jeremy ($77 -$20 )
2nd 13 Lotus Elan ($17 )
3rd 10 Seeking Wisdom ($28 )
4th 4 Wish To Land
Place Forecast (5-13) $41 , (5-10) $72 , (10-13) $64
Quartet No winner ($1,048 carried forward)
Scratchings: 7 Oasis Queen, 15 Tough Harry
1st 1 Beataboutthebush ($13-$6)
2nd 6 Smokey Affair ($8)
3rd 2 Favour's Pride ($17)
4th 7 Minds Eye
Place Forecast (1-6) $8, (1-2) $16, (2-6) $18
Scratchings: 3 Red Granite, 5 Bonne Vie
Result of Race 7 was not available at press time. Log on to www.turfclub.com.sg for the results.