3 June 2018

Dinghu Mountain hits the top after tight tussle

Trainer Shane Baertschiger’s sparkling form shows no signs of letting up after Dinghu Mountain handed him victory in Sunday’s highlight, the $100,000 Racing Australia Trophy, a Kranji Stakes B race over 1400m.

Already a visitor to the winner’s circle earlier in the $45,000 Class 4 Non Premier race with Galileo’s Approach (Matthew Kellady), the Australian handler was bringing up a double which takes his seasonal tally to 28 winners to sit on top of the Singapore trainer’s premiership, one clear of Lee Freedman.

Baertschiger actually went two wins clear, but the Australian Hall of Fame trainer shot one back in the next race, the $45,000 Class 4 Non Premier race over 1600m with Panache ($33) well handled by apprentice jockey Simon Kok Wei Hoong in an all-the-way rout. 

To illustrate Baertschiger’s stranglehold in the Kranji Stakes B race, if not for the Mark Walker-trained Kingsman (Ng Choon Kiat) squeezing in to run a short-head second to Dinghu Mountain, he would have saddled the trifecta.

Third was Guilty Pleasures (Alysha Collett) another length away, only half-a-length clear of the other Auric stablemate, Red Dawn (Matthew Kellady).

More pointedly, all three of his horses were given a wide berth by punters, even if their recent form was not that bad. They all started at three figures: Dinghu Mountain at $157, Guilty Pleasures at $159 and Red Dawn at $122.

Baertschiger could only tell himself punters were poor judges at times, as he personally thought his trio’s long odds were deceptive.

“I was surprised all my three horses were outsiders. I thought all three had a chance,” he said.

“The winner himself won first-up, and then was caught three wide at his last run, so you could put a line through that.

“He had a good barrier today and JP (John Powell) gave him a very good ride.”

The astute jockey said he went in with a simple plan – take advantage of his low draw (3) to secure a less energy-sapping run than at his last outing, and even though, they hit a bit of a speed bump halfway up the straight, his horse reigned supreme once he saw daylight, albeit by the skin of his teeth.

“This horse was caught wide last time and didn’t have much luck,” said the experienced Australian hoop.

“We had a better gate today and we got the box-seat. Everything worked out well until we got a bit stuck behind Red Dawn in the straight.

“I thought Red Dawn would run on better, but he didn’t. But once my horse got out, he picked up nicely and scored a tough win.

“It’s nice to win for Dato Terry Lee, but every race is good to win, too.”

A five-year-old by Snitzel, Dinghu Mountain is now owned by a joint partnership between Dato Lee’s Fairdeal Stable and the Premier Racing Stable.

Kingsman had every chance after an ideal run in transit, but was just unlucky the judge’s photo went the other way. Well ridden by Ng, the $29 shot put his best foot forward inside the last furlong, only to be beaten narrowly by Dinghu Mountain who ran the 1400m on the Long Course in 1min 22.49secs.

With that third win in 11 starts, Dinghu Mountain has now collected in excess of $170,000 in local prizemoney, pretty much on par with his earnings in Australia, A$167,295 from three wins (two in the city) and four placings in 13 starts for Sydney champion trainer Chris Waller.

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Image: Singapore Turf Club

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