Without a win since November, Soldado (NZ) (Pins) came through a well strung-out field in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1100m to bounce back to the winner’s circle in style on Friday night.
With Supersonicsurprise (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) and Qiji Commander (Benny Woodworth) going hell-for-leather upfront, Soldado (John Powell) was able to overcome his outermost alley to tack onto the leading bunch rather comfortably, albeit three wide.
Rounding the home turn, Qiji Commander was already reaching for the oxygen mask, while Supersonicsurprise was not a spent force yet.
But when Soldado ($16), which means soldier in Spanish, came swooping down on the outside, resistance was futile. The Pins six-year-old put his 10 rivals to the sword to go and salute for the fourth time at Kranji.
Despite burning the candle at both ends, Supersonicsurprise battled on for a laudable second place one and a half lengths away with Star Knight (Marc Lerner) third another one and one quarter length away. The winning time was 1min 5.36secs for the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1100m on Polytrack.
Trainer Shane Baertschiger said that Soldado had had a mixed run since coming back from a bleeding attack, but a hot pace and a smart ride from Powell put him right back on track at his 38th start on Friday.
“He bled after he won his last race at the end of last year. I gave him a spell and he came back good,” said the Australian handler who cements his fourth place on the leader’s log with that 34th win.
“He got a terrible ride at his last start. Putting a senior jockey back on did the trick.
“He also got back to a weight JP can ride him. There was good speed to the race, I thought they would break up and the broke up as they do.
“It was a great ride from JP. Things are going great at the stable, I will be turning over a few horses and things will be quiet for a while, but we will be strong again at the end of the year.”
Powell has now partnered the New Zealand-bred at three of his four wins, but the veteran rider said he was still not a conveyance that can give him 100% confidence when he gets legged up aboard.
“He was drawn wide, but from the barrier, he got into a good position when the race split into two groups,” said the Australian jockey.
“I was able to slot him in behind and in the straight I just let him sail home on the outside.
“You can never have too much confidence with this type of horse, but he gave me a nice kick at the top of the straight tonight.”
While Soldado’s haul now sits at four wins, his handy placing record of seven seconds and eight thirds have contributed a significant portion to his stakes earnings that have now hit around the $260,000 mark for the Soldado Stable. -STC