Newcomer a natural

Newcomer Surpass Natural leading all the way last night to become the fastest Restricted Maiden winner with his 58.25sec for the Polytrack 1,000m. ST PHOTO: SALWA SUANDI
Newcomer Surpass Natural leading all the way last night to become the fastest Restricted Maiden winner with his 58.25sec for the Polytrack 1,000m. ST PHOTO: SALWA SUANDI

Leticia Dragon's Surpass Natural breaks the class record first time out

Newcomer Surpass Natural lived up to his trial-winning form last night - sprinting to the post in great style and becoming the fastest Restricted Maiden winner at Kranji.

His 58.25sec for the Polytrack 1,000m was .05sec quicker than the class record achieved by El Padrino on Aug 7, 2011.

For the record, El Padrino rose to the top class and scored 10 races in all, including three in Group 3 at Kranji and the invitation Group 3 Asia Challenge Cup in Seoul, South Korea, in August 2014.

Asked if she has a high opinion of Surpass Natural after the race, Kranji's woman trainer Leticia Dragon laughed and said: "Initially, no. But now, I do."

No-one could blame her. She is now entitled to dream big on the way her newcomer applied his natural speed to win in the fastest Poly 1,000m as an unraced galloper on pure raw ability.

Drawn next to the rails, Surpass Natural cruised up beautifully to lead under jockey John Powell from Fairy's Wing, Unsung Hero and the $8 favourite Mr Alfonso, who was trapped wide after breaking from gate 10 in the field of 12.

Surpass Natural, a handsome three-year-old Australian-bred by five-time Group 1 winner Elvstroem, set a brisk pace. He covered the first 400m in 24.01sec and was nicely clear turning for home from the tiring Fairy's Wing.

Unsung Hero moved up, as did Mr Alfonso but his early effort to keep up wide soon took its toll. Surpass Natural kicked noticeably in the straight. He was about five lengths ahead with 200m left.

The Mok Zhan Lun-trained River Radiance, another trial-winning newcomer, came from midfield to charge home under Troy See's urgings. But his effort was too late. The bird had flown. The $23 winner fended him off by a length, with a big break of five lengths to Unsung Hero.

"I was quietly confident. He was always a true natural," said Dragon.

"He jumped well, he did everything right into the race. Even in his preparation, he did everything right, so I was expecting something of a big run from him tonight."

A big run, indeed, it was.

Powell reckoned Surpass Natural might need a longer trip and that the James Peters-trained Mr Alfonso, who finished second in his last two starts, was hard to beat.

"He's a nice horse actually," said the Australian.

"First time I sat on him. Leticia said watch his trial and see what you think. So I rang her back and I said 'no, I think he's going to need ground a little bit, this horse, the way his action is'.

"She said what do you think is the hardest to beat and I said Mr Alfonso is probably the one to beat. She said you haven't done your form probably, he should be winning by four - and she was right. Nice horse."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2019, with the headline 'Newcomer a natural'. Print Edition | Subscribe