Consistent galloper Centurion overcame a wide trip to poke his head in front where it mattered the most in the $50,000 Stepitup 2015 Stakes, a Class 4 Division 1 race over 1600m on Saturday.
Well ridden by two-time Singapore champion apprentice jockey Wong Chin Chuen, Centurion looked to be travelling within his own steam despite being trapped four deep for most of the way.
His backers probably thought his task would be even more arduous when race-leader Lim’s Passion seemed to have given them the slip at the 600m.
Centurion launched but was not pulling off much ground until Don De La Vega came rattling home on the outside. Almost in tandem, they homed in on Lim’s Passion, sailing past close home to finish locked together on the line, with the photo print giving the nod to Centurion on the inside by a head.
Lim’s Passion ran third another half-a-length away. The winning time was 1min 35.4secs for the 1600m on the Short Course.
Tan said he was not too concerned when Wong had his ward out on a limb punching the breeze, but the doubts did set in a little when he saw Lim’s Passion so far ahead.
“Lim’s Passion was too far in front. He had to make a move,” said the Penang-born handler.
“The problem with him is when he gets to the front, he idles. Luckily, Don De La Vega attacked the line at the same time, that got him going all the way.
“He’s on an upward curve. He is looking for further, up to 1 ¼ miles.”
Wong said the awareness of his mount’s stamina coupled with his short burst kept his confidence at a fairly high level throughout the race.
“Today he was quick out of the gates. He was three wide but he was all right as I know he can stay,” said Wong.
“He’s a horse who doesn’t have a big turn of foot. I just had to keep him close enough to the speed.
“He’s a horse who will stay, he can go further than a mile.”
With that third win from 14 starts, the four-year-old son of Zed has now taken his stakes earnings over the $100,000 mark for the Derby Stable. -STC