If there was one horse who had to win on August 9, it is Majulah – and he sure rose to the occasion!
With his previous record of one win and six placings in 34 starts, the New Zealand-bred Postponed six-year-old is no superstar by any stretch of the imagination. His one and only victory was recorded nearly two years ago when then prepared by trainer Mok Zhan Lun.
But with a name inspired by Singapore’s national anthem, Majulah Singapura (Onward Singapore in English), what more fitting time for the Class 5 cellar dweller to come up trumps on the country’s 54th National Day.
It was obviously not the rousing reception that a winner of a race like the $30,000 Class 5 Division 2 race over 1200m on Polytrack would draw, and no doubt the patriotic red and white fervour at the National Day Parade held at the Padang later will be much more effervescent, but Majulah still returned to scales to some cheers for Singapore.
“Majulah Singapura! It’s National Day! Happy Birthday, Singapore!” could be heard from the few delighted racegoers scattered around the other side of the rails.
While Marsh, who is from New Zealand, was toasting to Majulah’s win at the Champagne Room – his 12th for the season – the feat, albeit coincidental, resonated better with his assistant-trainer Jason Ong, a homegrown Singaporean.
“We knew Majulah was running on National Day, but we didn’t plan it that way. It’s just that Class 5 race suited him and it happened to fall on that day,” said Ong, who recently received his trainer’s licence.
“I guess there was a bit of expectation – and luckily, he put everything together.”
The owner Alvin Lau, whose silks are not red and white, but yellow and white quarters, is Singaporean, but explained he was not the one who came up with the name.
“I bought the horse from his previous owner. I’m not sure how he got the name,” said Mr Lau.
“But it’s a nice name, and to win today on National Day is even more special.”
A’Isisuhairi is Malaysian, but having resided on this side of the Causeway since he arrived from his apprenticeship in New Zealand in 2012, he could feel the Singapore spirit rallying behind that ride a bit more.
“I was hoping Majulah could win today on National Day. I’m proud he did,” said the Kelantan-born rider.
“He began well, but when they slammed on the brakes, I couldn’t let him slow down too much. I had to let him stride along.
“Even if he was three wide, I sat off him and he gave a good kick in the end.”
Marsh said that Majulah deserved that second win – his first under his care – especially after he had slipped down the handicap for so long. To him, his superior fitness won him the race.
“He had the mileage under his feet. He was really fit for that race,” said Marsh.
“It wasn’t a strong race, but I didn’t expect them to be so strong at the finish.”
Race-leader Golden Coin (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) tried to muster another kick when Majulah and
Top Banana (Alysha Collett) joined him in the straight, but the day belonged to Majulah.
A neck separated him from Golden Coin with Top Banana held in third place another half-length away. The winning time was 1min 14.15secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.
With that second win after the long barren run, Majulah has boosted his stakes earnings closer to the $80,000 mark for the Majulah Stable. -STC