Sacred Croix Impressive Mile Winner - Te Akau Singapore

Date: 21 Mar 2021


An exciting Saturday at Trentham, with Te Akau New Zealand trainer Jamie Richards claiming the Group 1 NZ Oaks and the Group 2 Wellington Guineas line honours continued with Te Akau Singapore trainer Mark Walker also victorious in the Singapore Saturday feature - the Singapore Turf Club reports:


The back-in-form Sacred Croix zigzagged his way from a seemingly untenable position to go and score a thriller in the $100,000 Kranji Stakes A race over 1600m on Saturday.

Touted as a Singapore Derby hope when he reeled off a four-in-a-row early in his local career in 2019, the son of Savabeel hit lean times for almost two years before he finally struck a purple patch again.

A winner at two of his last three starts before Saturday, Sacred Croix reigned supreme once more, in about the same manner of looking a forlorn hope at a crucial stage of the race.

This time, Mark Walker's six-year-old, who settled in the last few from the start, still spotted the leading protagonists around 10 lengths at the point of the turn, on his lonesome hard up against the rails as the well strung-out field flushed out wide.

But well ridden by Walker's boom apprentice jockey Hakim Kamaruddin, the even-money favourite began to give his despairing backers new hope when he was switched for an outside run at the 300m, even shifting out abruptly to dodge a weakening I'm Incredible (Vlad Duric) coming back into his path (Hakim was later warned by the Stipes for the sharp move).

I'm Incredible, the 2019 Singapore Horse of the Year, gave the fleeting impression he was back to the old form he had been struggling to regain of late, but, again, couldn't quite go on with the job when it really mattered.

It was his less fancied stablemate, old stager Preditor (Danny Beasley) who, on the other hand, looked a more likely contender for the top prize inside the concluding stages, but he had not reckoned with the reinvigorated Sacred Croix, who darted between runners to poke his head in front of the fast-finishing Sincerely (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) right on the line.

Gallant in defeat, Preditor had to settle for third place another half-length away while the run of the race will have to go to Mr Clint (Marc Lerner). The resuming 2019 Singapore Gold Cup winner was one of Sacred Croix's (now his stablemate after Lee Freedman left Singapore) companions in the back seats earlier on, but in line with his handy first-up record, stuck on well for fourth place another short head away.

In large part due to the hard pace Makanani (Krisna Thangamani) set in front, Sacred Croix ran the 1600m on the Short Course on turf in the smart time of 1min 34.76secs.

Walker was obviously delighted the former Raffles Racing Stable-owned galloper (he now races him in the Remarkable Stable colours) has found his mojo back, but fell well short of making him a Kranji Mile contender on May 22.

“He won another nice race, but to be honest, I was worried about the track. He's not the same horse when there's a bit of rain,” said the three-time Singapore champion trainer.

“He just needs a really firm track, but Hakim rode him very well and he flew in late. He had to get to work early as the leader (Makanani) was so far in front.

“I don't think Sacred Croix is a Kranji Mile horse, though as it's run at set weights, he's not a weight-for-age horse.

“Today, he had only 51kgs on his back but in a race like the Kranji Mile, he'll have to carry 58kgs.

“On the other hand, I was very happy with Mr Clint's run. He's on target for the Kranji Mile.”

With that 18th win for the season, Hakim has extended his lead further by 12 winners on fellow Malaysian lad Iskandar Rosman, while Krisna Thangamani has edged a little closer to five wins following his riding double aboard Yes One Ball ($48) for his master Ricardo Le Grange in the $20,000 Maiden race over 1200m, and Milimili ($63) for Hideyuki Takaoka in the $30,000 Class 5 Division 2 race over 1600m.

Hakim, who rode Sacred Croix to his previous two wins as well, said he realised he was outpaced early, hence him scrubbing him up early, but was confident his mount had the turn of foot to still catch up.

“I wanted to follow a horse, but they were going too fast. As it's a 1600m and a longer distance, I had to push him early to stay in touch,” he said.

“When Duric's horse came across, I had no room. I was very lucky I got a clear run in the end.”

Sacred Croix is now the proud holder of a handy record that reads seven wins and four placings from 25 starts for prize money that has snowballed past the $420,000 mark.


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