Tavistock gelding Infantry led home a New Zealand trifecta in the S$700,000 Kranji Mile in Singapore on Sunday night, beating a game Countofmontecristo (NZ) (Echoes of Heaven) and 2016 Singapore Horse of the Year Debt Collector (NZ) (Thorn Park).
The Alwin Tan-trained runner was fresh-up when winning the first leg of the Singapore Triple Crown, which was his first start since his victory in the S$1.15 million Singapore Derby in July.
“This horse has such a big heart,” Tan said. “Back to the 1600m after the Derby, I put the blinkers back on to sharpen him up a little.
“We didn’t want to force him, we didn’t want him to go too hard to the front and it’s paid off.”
Infantry was purchased out of Cambridge Stud’s 2013 New Zealand Bloodstock National Weanling, Broodmare and Mixed Bloodstock Sale draft for $7,000.
He was later purchased out of Darrel Lang’s stable as a two-year-old after impressing Cambridge bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo when finishing second in a trial at Avondale.
“I liked the fact that he was by Tavistock,” Cataldo said. “He was just a big raw horse that looked like he had plenty of physical improvement to come.
“He was a good mover, he had good clean legs and looked like he had a good brain. Darrel Lang had him and I really respect Darrel as a judge and he said to me that he really liked the horse and he was right.
“In the trial he was beaten a fair way and there were only five in it but it was wet and only 800m so obviously more ground was going to suit him.”
Infantry’s victory on Sunday was especially enjoyable for Cataldo as he was instrumental in brokering the deal to stand his sire Tavistock at Cambridge Stud.
“My good friend Tommy Heptinstall owned and raced Tavistock,” he said. “And it was pretty special being able to get him and Sir Patrick (Hogan) together.
“I was with Tommy when he bought Tavistock at Karaka and I have followed him ever since. He was a top horse and is turning into a great stallion.”
Infantry gave his sire his fourth Derby winner after winning the Singapore Derby earlier this year, joining Tavago (Gr.1 Australian Derby), Tarzino (Gr.1 Victoria Derby) and Werther (Hong Kong Derby).
Tavistock stands at Cambridge Stud for a service fee of $65,000+gst.
Meanwhile, Tan said he will be targeting Infantry towards the second leg of the Singapore Triple Crown, the S$700,000 Raffles Cup (1800m) on October 22, with a possible tilt at the S$1.35 million Singapore Gold Cup on November 12, the final leg of the series.
If successful, he would become the first horse to complete the Singapore Triple Crown and the last to do so in its current state, with the Kranji Mile being replaced by the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m) in the series next season. – NZ Racing Desk