Mr Exchequer dreams big

Mr Exchequer (No. 3) getting up in the last few strides to beat Sahara Eagle in Race 3 last night.
Mr Exchequer (No. 3) getting up in the last few strides to beat Sahara Eagle in Race 3 last night.ST PHOTO: SALWA SUANDI

Baertschiger now eyes the S'pore 4YO Challenge with rising stayer

Last-start winner Mr Exchequer continued his winning ways at Kranji last night and is right on course for the bigger quests later in the year.

Although it was his first attempt over the 1,800m trip from 15 starts, the Shane Baertschiger-trained $19 favourite passed the test in a race devoid of pace.

Things also did not go as planned for Mr Exchequer in the $80,000 Class 3 race but, fortunately, it ended well.

It was another piece of masterful riding by top Australian jockey John Powell, who played it cool after Plan A did not materialise.

The plan was to ride shotgun with the leader Marvel Hero, but somehow Mr Exchequer was left further than intended after being the last out together with trainer Stephen Gray's pair of Pusaka and Billy Britain, also a last-start winner .

Marvel Hero led but the pace was so pedestrian that two-time top apprentice CC Wong steered Turf Champion to sit on the outside of the leader at the 1,200m mark. Then came Kings Ryker and Sahara Eagle. Mr Exchequer was next on the outside of Pusaka.

Marvel Hero was first for home after setting a slow sectional of about 62sec for the first 1,000m.

  • Friday's South Africa results

  • RACE 1

    1st 2 Aloysius ($128-$22)

    2nd 10 Tune The Scope ($6)

    3rd 4 Calla Lily ($7)

    4th 9 Royal Fort

    Forecast $40 Place Forecast (2-10) $11, (2-4) $16, (4-10) $4 Tierce $718 Trio $28

    Quartet No winner ($1,918 jackpot carried forward to next race) Quadro $99

  • RACE 2

    1st 4 Limerick Ridge ($13-$8)

    2nd 2 Valentine's Girl ($7)

    3rd 14 Air Belle ($95)

    4th 5 Ohsobright

    Forecast $12 Place Forecast (2-4) $7, (4-14) $58, (2-14) $93 Tierce $966 Trio $308

    Quartet No winner ($2,054 carried forward)

    Quadro No winner ($162 carried forward)

    Scratchings: 1 Straw Rum, 17 Estimet

  • RACE 3

    1st 5 Sabbatical ($11-$7)

    2nd 8 Ricketee ($31)

    3rd 11 Winter Trade ($30)

    4th 3 Soviet Cosmonaut

    Forecast $71 Place Forecast (5-8) $27, (5-11) $29, (8-11) $105 Tierce $1,340 Trio $284

    Quartet No winner ($6,328 jackpot carried forward) Quadro $2,157

  • RACE 4

    1st 9 Belonje ($56-$14)

    2nd 10 Multi Gold ($40)

    3rd 4 Pondicherri ($8)

    4th 8 Big Jay's

    Forecast $384 Place Forecast (9-10) $103, (4-9) $12, (4-10) $27 Tierce No winner ($5,306 carried forward) Trio $1,195

    Quartet No winner ($18,936 carried forward)

    Quadro $593

    Scratching: 6 Highland Spring

  • RACE 5

    1st 7 Silver Goblet ($207-$51)

    2nd 8 Altitude ($14)

    3rd 5 Lucky Lulu ($10)

    4th 11 Enlightenment

    Forecast $189 Place Forecast (7-8) $69, (5-7) $47, (5-8) $16 Tierce $11,823 Trio $912

    Quartet No winner ($26,564 carried forward) Quadro No winner ($778 carried forward)

    Scratchings: 9 Russian Star, 13 Peach Valley, 14 Sandy Bay

  • RACE 6

    1st 1 Dragon Flame ($26-$11)

    2nd 3 Green Lantern ($8)

    3rd 8 Caballo Blanco ($16)

    4th 7 Armstrong's Boy

    Forecast $18 Place Forecast (1-3) $6, (1-8) $17, (3-8) $15

    Tierce $735 Trio $105

    Quartet $4,140 Quadro $176

    Scratching: 6 Bruce's Beauty

  • RACE 7

    1st 5 Luna Child ($27-$8)

    2nd 1 Queen Forever ($9)

    3rd 6 What A Player ($22)

    4th 2 Merysagos

    Forecast $22

    Place Forecast (1-5) $12, (5-6) $30, (1-6) $28

    Tierce $637 Trio $191

    Quartet $956

    Quadro $79

Turf Champion, who chased hard, failed to live up to his name. He found nothing when asked. Kings Ryker and Sahara Eagle loomed up. Pusaka and Mr Exchequer headed the rest, still a few lengths adrift.

Sahara Eagle overtook Marvel Hero with 250m left and seemed to have flown. But, on the outside, Pusaka and Mr Exchequer were unwinding beautifully. In a breathtaking finish, Powell managed to squeeze Mr Exchequer up in the last few strides to beat Sahara Eagle by a neck.

The winning time was 1min 49.20sec, close to three seconds outside Superb's record of 1min 46.31sec set in 2010.

But a win is a win. It now gives Baertschiger the pleasure of aiming Mr Exchequer for the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge.

The series consists of the $500,000 Group 2 Stewards' Cup over 1,400m on June 10, the $1 million Group 1 Patron's Bowl over 1,600m on July 1 and the $1.15 million Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby over 1,800m on July 22.

"Hopefully, he comes on. He is my Derby horse," said Baertschiger, of Mr Exchequer, who is by staying sire Savabeel, himself a son of champion sire Zabeel.

Powell was greatly relieved Mr Exchequer produced his best to get the cheque for MA Racing Stable after being a bit slow off the mark.

"We planned to ride him in the box-seat behind Marvel Hero. They scooted out of the barriers, the first 100m, and they got me three pairs back and further than I wanted to be," he said.

"Then I pulled up to a wall. I hit a flat spot about the 300m and I thought I was going to finish about fourth. Then his breeding came out. By Savabeel, he kept grinding and grinding away, so it was a tough win."

The night's main race - the $125,000 iRace Classic over 1,200m - saw the real Super Fortune returning to the fore with a top ride by Frenchman Olivier Placais.

Beaten a neck and a head in his last two starts, the Alwin Tan-trained four-year-old extricated himself from a pocket to win by a length for his fifth success in eight starts. He will now be earmarked for the rich sprints.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2018, with the headline 'Mr Exchequer dreams big'. Print Edition | Subscribe