A sudden return of the old gate speed from Howl (NZ) (Showcasing) at his last barrier trial inspired trainer Daniel Meagher to change tactics at his next race in Singapore on Friday night – and to winning effect.
In moderate form of late, the Showcasing five-year-old did show some toe early in his racing career, even scoring his maiden win in December 2017 from pillar to post.
He did not win again until 10 months later, this time racing handy on the pace.
Since then Howl was putting in more howlers than screamers. Ridden further back, he struggled to make ground at the business end.
But at his barrier trial on April 18, he sprang the gates for Benny Woodworth, never to be re-joined thereafter. It was the blueprint Meagher needed to Friday’s run in the S$50,000 Class 4 Division 3 race over 1200m.
Once Howl overcame his wide gate to take up the running rather easily, Woodworth allowed him to amble along at fairly soft splits before throwing out the anchors at the top of the straight.
The $46 chance held his ground with aplomb. Lim’s Reform (NZ) (O’Reilly) and favourite Splinter (Dream Ahead) did come wearing him down, but he held them safely at bay to score by 1 ½ lengths.
“He’s a horse with some ability – more the bread-and-butter type – but he’s been a bit disappointing recently,” said Meagher.
“We tried switching him by going forward in a trial and he repeated that trial form tonight. He’s a one-paced type but it was a good result overall.”
Cementing his fourth spot on the Singapore jockey’s premiership on 18 winners, Woodworth said Howl was never in doubt once he came across from his wide barrier.
“He did the same thing he did in his last trial – roll forward and keep going. He just brought his trial form to the races,” said the in-form Malaysian rider.
“It’s always easy when things work out well.”
Racing in the new colours of owner Lee Wan How, Howl has now taken his race record to three wins and three seconds from 17 starts for prizemoney that has now tipped over the S$100,000 mark. -STC