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Be Bee takes out Singapore 3YO Sprint in style
Michael Lee

Be Bee handed trainer Shane Baertschiger his first accolade in the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge following his storming win in the first Leg, the $250,000 Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m) on Friday.


The Australian trainer’s father Don (from whom he took over in 2012) did have his name etched on the honour roll once with Tres Sheik (incidentally also raced by Auric Stable, Be Bee’s owner) in the third Leg in 2002 when it was then not yet known as the Singapore Guineas (1600m).


Baertschiger could barely conceal his delight at the post-race interviews. He has done it as a trainer in his own right - and with a horse who already gave him his career highlight last year – his first Group 2 success in the Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) followed by the Singapore champion two-year-old title. 

Be Bee (John Powell) stamps his class in the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint on Friday.

And the satisfaction was even more palpable given the Sprint had always been locked away as Be Bee’s main target despite his string of three defeats this year.


“That was his main objective all along. I brought him back early (after his two-year-old campaign) in December, and he won first-up,” he said.


“But he’s been unlucky after that. Like he ran off the track the other day (carried off by Lim’s Racer), and all that.


“I also changed his gears, tried the blinkers on, but I took them off today. I went back to basics and it’s paid off.


“But I think it’s the way I have backed off on his training that has really paid off. I was training him too hard.


“He did even time last week at his final gallop, and that’s exactly what he did a week before winning the Aushorse last year, he did 45 as well.


“JP (John Powell) also gave him a great ride even if he was further back than I would have liked. I was panicking a bit, but there was a lot of speed in the race.


“He will now go for the second Leg and I’ll see how he goes before deciding on the Guineas.”


The $500,000 Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1400m) will be run on April 22 while the grand final, the $1 million Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1600m) will take place on May 26.


As predicted by most form analysts, there was a hectic charge to the lead from the outset with Yabadabadoo (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) coming across from his wide barrier to settle on the paint.


Michael Clements’ speedy customer soon had company with Cliff Brown’s fleet-footed duo of Mister Yeoh (Michael Rodd) and Filibuster (Ben Melham) also overcoming their wide alleys to make a line of three while Safeer (Wong Chin Chuen), Clements’ second-stringer was tucked away in the box-seat right in behind.


At the other end, the backmarkers were struggling to keep up, and they included the usual suspects Mr Clint (Craig Grylls), Lord Of Cloud (Troy See), Mr Hanks (Vlad Duric) and Per Incharge (Azhar Ismail) trailing badly, but Be Bee, who usually has more natural speed, was surprisingly in their midst early.


Powell tried to improve his position from the 800m, but it was harder to weave a needle through a bunched-up 16-horse field all jostling for the best run as the last two furlongs of the race came up.


Entering the home straight, Yabadabadoo had had enough and was swiftly overtaken by Mister Yeoh who was soon hailed the winner up until the 200m mark when it became clear he would be engulfed by the swoopers.


Winning trainer Shane Baertschiger and jockey John Powell share the spotlight after Be Bee's triumph.

From the lot, Augustano (Glen Boss) did raise the Lee Freedman camp’s hopes as he came poking his head around, and so did Nowyousee (Nooresh Juglall) for a fleeting moment, but it was Be Bee ($25) who was making the brightest impression when he let down with an explosive turn of foot on the outside.


The son of Showcasing had the race all parcelled up as he burst to the front, and even if Mr Clint and Captain Jamie (Ryan Curatolo) were scorching up the turf, they were too far back to steal Be Bee’s thunder, obviously crying for more ground, which they will no doubt get in the second Leg.


Be Bee went on to score by 1 ¼ lengths from Mr Clint who won the battle for the minors by a short head from Captain Jamie, who finished in advance of Augustano by an identical margin. The winning time was 1min 9.89secs for the 1200m on the Short Course on a yielding track.

With that fourth win from eight starts, Be Bee has more than recouped his price tag of NZ$250,000 at the 2016 New Zealand Ready-to-Run sale, having now amassed around $420,000 in prizemoney for the Auric Stable.


Powell, who has partnered Be Bee at all his eight runs bar the debut win when Barend Vorster was aboard, said waiting tactics could be the way forward for the exciting three-year-old.


“He’s a nice horse, but he’s been a bit unlucky when he raced against older horses,” said the Australian jockey.


“I think we also raced him too close and today we wanted him to settle back in sixth or seventh. When we put him on the speed, he doesn’t finish off as well.


“He was off the bridle coming to the outside and he quickened up really well. He really deserved that win.


“If we ride him off the speed like today, I think he can run out the 1400m. He will be suited by a good speed and we have to ride him quiet as well.”


One jockey who will be sharpening his knives ahead of the mouth-watering rematch in the Classic was Grylls.


“Mr Clint was struggling to keep up with the early pace, but he wound up with a wet sail,” said the Kiwi jockey.


“The 1400m Leg will suit him better. The further the better for him.”