21 September 2018

Tan rewarded for his patience with Dusseldorf

After 12 vain attempts at Kranji, Dusseldorf finally opened his local account with a convincing victory in the $45,000 Class 4 Non Premier race over 1200m on Polytrack on Friday night.

A two-time winner in Victoria when known as Cliff Hanger and prepared by then Melbourne-based trainer Lee Freedman with his brother Anthony, Dusseldorf had been a source of frustration for both his former conditioner Shane Baertschiger and his current one, Tan Kah Soon.

Tried over a variety of distances up to 1700m, Dusseldorf could not score in six starts for Baertschiger before the owners, the More Stable, moved him to Tan in April. 

The change of scenery did not bring any significant change, other than it was now Tan’s turn to be at his wit’s end.

The main beef they had with the Canford Cliffs five-year-old was his pea-sized heart when he hits the front on his own. He freezes.

“Even in the mornings, when another horse range upsides, he stops!” said Tan.

“In his last few starts, we’ve run him over 1600m and 1800m and he was ridden from behind, but he doesn’t want to go on.

“When he comes back, he hardly ever blows! It means he hasn’t run his race.

“So tonight, I thought maybe the pace of a 1200m race would take him into the race, and he would then finish it off. It finally worked.”

Tan’s other masterstroke was to hand the reins to a jockey who knows his idiosyncrasies -  Matthew Kellady, who is familiar with the gelding when he was with Baertschiger, and would be someone who might know how to coax him to the line.

“I know this horse from the time he was with Stretch, he’s got a tricky mind. When he hits the front, he stops,” said the Malaysian jockey.

“I was happy where he was tonight when he was three wide the whole way as he doesn’t like to be inside horses.

“In the straight, I waited for a while before going for him, because once you pull the whip on him, he will stop.

“I’m glad for Kah Soon as he has tried all sorts of stuff on this horse and it’s finally paid off.”

The $58 shot certainly had the winning post in his sights when he was bustled up for his run at the 400m, but certainly not the race at his mercy.
With the two top picks, favourite Prince Alexander (Vlad Duric) and the well-supported Everybody Happy, on whom French jockey Marc Lerner was hoping to get on the board in Singapore, gunning for the win at the 300m, Dusseldorf looked like he would get field-shy again. 

But this time, he showed a little more gumption and ticker, settling the issue inside the last 150 metres as he came defeating Prince Alexander by a neck with Everybody Happy eventually fading to third place another 1 ½ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 12.4secs for the 1200m on the alternative surface.

A stakes winner of more than A$100,000 in Australia, Dusseldorf has racked up prizemoney to the tune of $50,000 in Singapore with that Kranji ice-breaker.

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Image: Singapore Turf Club