They say nothing beats experience – even in horse racing . But, in Catch The Tiger’s case, there was more to it than having raced more times than his nine rivals in last night’s $75,000 Restricted Maiden event over 1,400m on the Long Course B.
While Catch The Tiger already had 10 races under his belt for only three third placings, the other runners had only between one and four runs each.
But perhaps luck, more than anything else, played the most crucial role for the Shane Baertschigertrained Catch The Tiger.
First, the biggest threat came out when the pre-race favourite and flashy debut runner-up Adipson broke through his gate, vetted and was withdrawn.
Then, no one wanted to play the rabbit’s role and jockey Matthew Kellady ended up a reluctant leader after a beautiful jump. But it was a blessing in disguise. The Bingo Stable- owned $30 chance got a soft lead and made it pillar to post.
The eventual $13 favourite Forever Win, with a debut second and last-start fourth from three starts, rattled home second under Ben Thompson, 21/4 lengths behind.
The Joseph Azzopardi-ridden Mowgli, who ran fourth in his debut, was third, a length away, as the $25 hope. Debut third placegetter Happy Lucky Star was sixth as the $18 second favourite.
Kellady got Catch The Tiger out in a flash but was swarmed by a pack for a while, before kicking to a clear one-length and then twolength lead from Mowgli.
Two lengths behind came Happy Lucky Star on the rails, Cizen Boss in the centre and Flying Sky wide. Then came Forever Win, accompanied by Ma Bao Bao.
Mowgli got up to Catch The Tiger turning into the long straight and probably popped slightly ahead. But Catch The Tiger still had plenty in the tank and responded to Kellady’s riding and shot clear again from the final 400m.
While the margin looked huge, Baertschiger was philosophical, putting it down to a weak race in his three-year-old Australian-bred’s first success at his 11th start.
“I don’t think he was in an overly strong race and he got a soft lead, you know,” said the lanky Kranjibased Australian.
“He has been battling but he found the right race and got the Restricted Maiden money, so that’s a bonus. He’s only limited, pretty one-paced and it all worked out for him tonight.”
Said Kellady: “You know, the race panned out perfectly for him. I was afraid of Adipson but he was scratched and it wasn’t ideal to ride him in front.
“But, with the lack of pace, I dictated and they left him alone, and he did the rest. He’s definitely a horse that can go a bit further. He just needs to learn