Odds-on favourite On Line did not let his backers down after he posted a convincing win courtesy of another textbook ride from champion jockey Vlad Duric on Sunday.
The O’Reilly three-year-old was stepping up to the mile after his closing head-second to Quadcopter in a Novice race over 1400m last Friday week.
Eased back down to Restricted Maiden company in the $75,000 Infantry 2017 Stakes (1600m), On Line vindicated trainer Michael Clements’ decision to back him up within nine days with a solid three-quarter length win from Forever Win (Ben Thompson). Duxton (William Pike) took third place another short head away.
Backed down to $8 favouritism, On Line clocked 1min 36.1secs for the mile on the Long Course. Raced by prominent Thai outfit Falcon Racing No 7 Stable, On Line was opening his account after coming close with two seconds at his previous three outings.
Clements was obviously delighted his little gamble has paid off, especially on an individual who had given good vibes from Day 1.
“We’ve always been wanting to get him up to the mile. Backing him up from last week was a question mark, but he’s such a big strong horse that I thought he could take it,” said the Zimbabwean-born mentor.
“At the start, he took a bit of time to get going, but once Vlad got him up and travelling, he was fine.
“The mile was not really a concern, especially with the inside barrier. I thought he’d be okay.”
Duric was on the other hand a little worried about barrier No 1, but once he had On Line on the bit and coasting behind leader and longshot Champagne Finale (Joseph Azzopardi), the two-time Singapore champion jockey could relax better.
Loath to be stuck behind a fading horse, Duric popped On Line off the fence at the 500m and once they straightened up, they just went whoosh hard up against the rails.
While On Line did fade a little late, they were never really threatened by the closing duo of Forever Win and Duxton.
“He was in the right race, but there was a question mark on his inside gate, how I would have to navigate him early,” said Duric.
“He was also backing up from last week, but he got the job done. He wanted the mile and a bit further down the road.”
The Falcon Racing No 7 Stable has already pocketed around $70,000 in stakes money from On Line's record of one win and two seconds.