It's Fitzsimmons' first

Trainer Tim Fitzsimmons The Tim Fitzsimmons-trained Mega Gold winning in spectacular fashion with jockey Michael Rodd astride in Race 2 at Kranji last night.
The Tim Fitzsimmons-trained Mega Gold winning in spectacular fashion with jockey Michael Rodd astride in Race 2 at Kranji last night.ST PHOTO: DAVE LIM
Trainer Tim Fitzsimmons The Tim Fitzsimmons-trained Mega Gold winning in spectacular fashion with jockey Michael Rodd astride in Race 2 at Kranji last night.
Trainer Tim Fitzsimmons ST PHOTO: DAVE LIM

Mega Gold provides Australian his first strike as Kranji trainer

Finally, the monkey is off new trainer Tim Fitzsimmons' back - thanks to $9 favourite Mega Gold.

It was the Australian's 22nd runner since he became a Kranji-based trainer last April.

The former assistant to trainer Cliff Brown fielded nine runners last season without any showing. Before last night's proceedings, he saddled two agonisingly close seconds - Thunder and Mister Dynamo - from 12 runners this year.

Gold Stable's Mega Gold went off as the single-digit favourite from the first bell, on the strength of his nice debut fourth over the Polytrack 1,000m on Jan 31 under jockey Marc Lerner.

With the Frenchman serving a six-day suspension for careless riding, Mega Gold was ridden by Fitzsimmons' close pal, Michael Rodd, in last night's $75,000 Restricted Maiden-2 event over the Polytrack 1,200m.

The Melbourne Cup-winning rider rode Mega Gold a treat. He sat nice and relaxed in midfield, five lengths off the leader and $12 second favourite Unstoppable Giant.

The Shane Baertschiger-trained leader raised the white flag shortly after straightening. Qiji Star and then Mega Gold loomed up.

Mega Gold hit the front 350m out and, from there, the three-year-old New Zealand-bred made his rivals look second-rate.

Although Rodd had relaxed in the final 50m, Mega Gold won by 11/2 lengths from the Desmond Koh-trained outsider Superior Coat, who paid $65 for a place.

Mega Gold clocked a decent 1min 12.75sec for the trip.

The win certainly shot Fitzsimmons to Cloud Nine.

  • Friday's South Africa results

  • RACE 1

    1st 1 Delicasea ($8-$5.10)

    2nd 7 Sloane ($6)

    3rd 2 Herrin ($7)

    4th 8 Sweet Spring

    Forecast $6

    Place Forecast (1-7) $3, (1-2) $3, (2-7( $5

    Tierce $14

    Trio $5

    Quartet $83

    RACE 2

    1st 5 Arabian Quest ($103-$16)

    2nd 1 Cider ($19)

    3rd 6 All The Stars ($5.10)

    4th 10 Riley De Vie

    Forecast $340

    Place Forecast (1-5) $58, (5-6) $11, (1-6) $10

    Tierce $2,223

    Trio $133

    Quartet No winner ($570 carried forward)

    Scratching: 3 Kounia Bella

    RACE 3

    Abandoned

    RACE 4

    1st 3 Maldives ($15-$7)

    2nd 1 Shades Of Blu ($7)

    3rd 7 Queen Makeda ($7)

    4th 8 Mystic Tulip

    Forecast $10

    Place Forecast (1-3) $4, (3-7) $5, (1-7) $5

    Tierce $44

    Trio $11

    Quartet $970

    South Africa meeting was abandoned from Race 5 onwards.

"It's fantastic, huge relief," said the elated trainer, who joined Brown in 2007 and climbed through the ranks to become his deputy in March 2014.

"He got a little further back than I thought he would today. They went fast, I wasn't sure how he would be, you know, among so many horses. But he won really well.

"Just rapt to get the win and, hopefully, it's the first of many."

Fitzsimmons wasn't really worried in being winless after so long, knowing the first would come soon.

"Not overly frustrating, I think it helps. I've been here for so long and I know that if you keep doing the right things, eventually it will turn and it will come," he said.

"So I haven't been panicking, just you know, other people want me to get the first winner, probably even more so than myself, but it's a huge relief to get it out of the way.

"I want to thank the Gold Stable for supporting me and all the owners that have supported me. I really appreciate it, you know, taking the risk on me and, hopefully, I can repay the faith."

Rodd was naturally pleased in having the honour of riding the first winner for Fitzsimmons.

"It's nice. As soon as he got his licence, I want to ride his first winner. Everybody knows the story behind Timmy and me and Cliff, so it's great," said Rodd.

"He has to work so hard, Timmy. I walked into his stable when he started, he had two horses on the board, you know.

"Timmy can train, just getting the horses now. This horse, he's a nice horse - and he's still raw."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2020, with the headline 'It's Fitzsimmons' first'. Print Edition | Subscribe