One ride and it's Olympic gold for Rodd

Michael Lee

Olympic Anthem and jockey Michael Rodd again proved they form a lethal combination with yet another win on Friday night.

The Australian rider has partnered the Starcraft six-year-old at six of his previous 14 starts, for a healthy record of three wins from his total tally of five – and that statistic went further up north with another brilliant winning display in Friday’s highlight, the $125,000 Kranji Stakes A race over 1100m on Polytrack.

Not one of the best away as is his norm, Olympic Anthem ($30) was, however, able to slot into a nice midfield berth while the early leaders Italian Job (Shafrizal Saleh), $11 favourite Eclair Choice (Barend Vorster) and The General (Nooresh Juglall) went like bats out of hell in a line of three at the head of affairs. 

At that rate, it was almost a given they would be reaching for the oxygen mask soon, but while Eclair Choice did knock up, the other two early playmakers were still going great guns.

For a second, Malaysian apprentice jockey Shafrizal even seemed to be on the cusp of a first Singapore hurrah with Italian Job holding on rather steadfastly, but Rodd, who was at his only ride of the night, was keen to make it count.

The General, who was also not out of the race, mounted a late bid despite his energy-sapping trip, but as valiant as his effort was, he could not match motors when Olympic Anthem, the fresh horse on the scene, came with a flourish to score by three parts of a length. Italian Job did very well to hang on for third place another length away.

The winning time was 1min 5.02secs for the 1100m on the Polytrack.

Rodd was not sure if it was the chemistry between him and Olympic Anthem that was behind the winning streak, but he knew for a fact who has found the key to the “difficult” horse.

“James rides him in trackwork and knows what to do to get him fit,” said Rodd.

“He’s not an easy horse to train. You can’t do too much with him, and he’s also got a bad mouth.

“He was back in the field and the fast pace suited him. He just gets on with the job and was too good tonight.

“That was my only ride of the night, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.”

Peters said the China Horse Club-owned gelding has stacks of potential but needs to have things his way.

“He has lots of ability and Michael gets along well with him. He gave him a great ride,” said the Englishman.

“He’s the kind of horse who needs to tuck in behind and come around the outside for clear galloping room, and that’s exactly what happened tonight.

“He was a little bit fresh at his last start when first-up, and overraced. We took the edge off him in the last couple of weeks and he’s come back good.

“We tried 1200m with him before and he didn’t quite handle it, he’s better off over those 1000m-1100m races.”

Peters and the China Horse Club later recombined to bring up a double courtesy of even-money favourite Grand Cross (Shafiq Rizuan) in the last race, the $60,000 Class 4 race over 1100m.

All in all, it was a great night at the office for the first-season trainer as he had engagements in only those two races for a 100% strike rate race-wise, but 66% runners-wise as he also saddled Great Sun in OIympic Anthem’s race, but he could only run seventh.