Quarter back scores first-up

Newcomer Quarter Back winning first-up last night to give trainer Michael Clements his 500th winner at Kranji.
Newcomer Quarter Back winning first-up last night to give trainer Michael Clements his 500th winner at Kranji.

Newcomer provides trainer Michael Clements his 500th Kranji winner

Newcomer Quarter Back lived up to his trial-winning form at Kranji last night with a facile victory that showed he could develop into a smart miler.

The three-year-old Japanese-bred's triumph in Race 2 provided his trainer, Michael Clements, with a new milestone of his career - his 500th winner at Kranji.

For good measure, Clements made it a quick double by taking Race 3 with his only other runner of the night, Justice Day, to draw level with Steven Burridge with 12 winners apiece in the trainer's log. But Burridge replied with a double with Chairman Wind in Race 6 and Black Swan in Race 8.

"It's great. Obviously, you know, to keep chalking up the winners. It's been a great start to the year, so it's going good," said Clements.

A two-time champion in his native Zimbabwe, the lanky trainer relocated to Singapore in 1998 and has since taken up citizenship here. The last few years saw him reaping bigger harvests. Last season was his best, with 52 winners.

In Quarter Back, Clements has a young galloper with good staying pedigree. The bay gelding's sire Empire Maker, who was by 1990 US Three-Year-Old champion Unbridled, had eight starts for four wins, three of them in Grade 1.

Ridden by French jockey Ryan Curatolo last night, Quarter Back jumped well but was eased back to sit handily behind Vistara, who led from Italian Master and David's Star, also a trial-winning newbie.

  • Friday's South Africa results

  • RACE 1

    1st 1 Carlita ($7-$6)

    2nd 2 Vertical ($7)

    3rd 7 Madame Speaker ($12)

    4th 3 Watsonia

    Forecast $7 Place Forecast (1-2) $4, (1-7) $8, (2-7) $23

    Tierce $69 Trio $36 Quartet $117 Quadro $32

  • RACE 2

    1st 1 Razed In Black ($13-$5.10)

    2nd 5 Free Agent ($7)

    3rd 2 Afrikaburn ($9)

    4th 7 Bollemakiesie

    Forecast $16 Place Forecast (1-5) $6, (1-2) $3, (2-5) $7 Tierce $63

    Trio $11 Quartet $166 Quadro $10

  • RACE 3

    1st 7 Strawberry Girl ($40-$9)

    2nd 1 Washington Square ($9)

    3rd 4 Solano ($16)

    4th 10 Great Sound

    Forecast $41 Place Forecast (1-7) $10, (4-7) $27, (1-4) $11 Tierce $886

    Trio $86 Quartet No winner ($828 jackpot carried forward to next race) Quadro $1,769

    Scratching: 11 My Advocate

  • RACE 4

    1st 5 Quinlan ($32-$12)

    2nd 4 Percival ($10)

    3rd 8 Zip Line ($12)

    4th 2 Omega Onslaught

    Forecast $32 Place Forecast (4-5) $10, (5-8) $17, (4-8) $22

    Tierce $503 Trio $107 Quartet $2,799 Quadro $133

  • RACE 5

    1st 2 Stormy Eclipse ($21-$7)

    2nd 3 Ollivander ($8)

    3rd 9 Cape Rebel ($13)

    4th 6 Laws Of Succession

    Forecast $13 Place Forecast (2-3) $8, (2-9) $12, (3-9) $14 Tierce $437

    Trio $82 Quartet No winner ($226 carried forward) Quadro $178

  • RACE 6

    1st 8 Crown Court ($23-$9)

    2nd 11 Altitude ($24)

    3rd 2 Chinkapin ($9)

    4th 6 O' Keeffe

    Forecast $100 Place Forecast (8-11) $31, (2-8) $14, (2-11) $29

    Tierce $720 Trio $198 Quartet No winner ($384 carried forward) Quadro No winner ($718 carried forward)

  • RACE 7

    1st 2 Star Burst Galaxy ($16-$7)

    2nd 6 Our Destiny ($23)

    3rd 10 Scandola ($60)

    4th 1 Easy Street

    Forecast $41 Place Forecast (2-6) $12, (2-10) $53, (6-10) $460

    Tierce $1,562 Trio $1,218 Quartet No winner ($540 carried forward) Quadro No winner ($1,782 carried forward)

    Scratching: 3 Twinkle Toes

  • RACE 8

    1st 11 Data Link ($17-$7)

    2nd 9 Big Jay's ($15)

    3rd 6 Sacred Touch ($7)

    4th 3 Pondicherri

    Forecast $49 Place Forecast (9-11) $15, (6-11) $7, (6-9) $19 Tierce $122 Trio $56 Quartet $704 Quadro $74

    Scratching: 1 Unrivalled

Italian Master challenged the leader shortly after straightening in the $85,000 Restricted Maiden event over the flying 1,000m on the Polytrack. The lights already went out for David's Star, who took over favouritism at one point but eased to second favourite at $17.

Curatolo switched Quarter Back out for a clear run and started to close the gap. His mount hit the front 150m out and then staved off the eventual $16 favourite Kiss Your Song by an easy length.

Quarter Back was the early $11 hotshot but drifted to pay $19.

Clements was excited in unveiling another smart debut winner in just five days, after Loving You.

"Well, he's by a staying stallion out of the US, so he has done pretty good tonight. He came off the pace and he finished pretty strongly, so he's definitely a horse who will be able to get the mile later. It's exciting," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2018, with the headline 'Quarter back scores first-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe