After four seconds from as many starts, Good Catch finally shed his maiden status with a gutsy win in the $85,000 Debt Collector 2016 Stakes, a Restricted Maiden race over 1000m on Sunday.
Taking full advantage of his barrier No 2, the New Zealand-bred three-year-old by Falkirk had little trouble settling into his customary leading role in the 12-horse field.
Backed down again with confidence ($13 favourite), Good Catch looked to be on the bridle and doing things easy at the head of affairs, but the acid test would be when the pressure comes pouring on him. Would Good Catch get caught again like at his last four runs?
The one shaping up as the party-pooper this time was the well-tried debutant Miss Dusty (Michael Rodd) when she came bursting out of the pack to lay down the law at the 200m.
But it was written Good Catch was not going to settle for second best for a fifth time on Sunday. Well rated by his regular partner Nooresh Juglall, the Titanium Racing Stable-owned gelding kept finding to hit the line strongly and comfortably hold Miss Dusty at bay by half-a-length.
Kiss Your Song (John Powell) ran third another 1 ½ lengths away. The winning time was 59.87 seconds for the 1000m on the Polytrack.
Nobody was as relieved as winning trainer Ricardo Le Grange as he headed down to the winner’s circle accompanied by the happy entourage from Titanium Racing Stable headed by Jeffrey Soh.
“He’s run four times second, but in his defence, it was behind some smart horses,” said the South African handler.
“It was 50/50 if I’d bring him back to 1000m today, you’re either a genius if it works out or a dill if it doesn’t, but luckily it’s paid off.
“Jeff has been very patient with this horse and it was a strong positive ride from Nooresh as well. It’s also great to win on a big day like today.”
Le Grange has a strong team in Tesoro Privado (also owned by Titanium Racing Stable), King Louis and Captain Jamie in the second Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1400m) later in the programme.
Now that Good Catch has got rid of his bridesmaid tag, Le Grange can now look at raising the bar for the horse who has brought up the dozen for him this year.
“I think he’ll go further now that he’s got that first win out of the way,” said Le Grange. “He is bred to go further, and conservatively, he could go over 1400m on turf.”
Juglall has now booted home his 20th winner to inch even closer to the two jockeys ahead of him – Vlad Duric (29 wins) and Michael Rodd (26 wins) on the premiership.
“He’s a real honest horse who has always shown ability,” said the in-form Mauritian jockey.
“It’s also frustrating as he always starts as the favourite as well. I was confident with the good draw and it’s worked out well in the end.”
Four seconds under the belt had already put $65,000 in the bank for Good Catch, but with that first hurrah, his account has now hit the $110,000 mark for Soh and his partners.