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Elite Power too good in the last
Michael Lee

The ever-consistent Elite Power dug down deep to inflict Jomo his first taste of defeat in the $70,000 Health & Happiness Stakes, a Class 3 race over 1000m, the last race of the Fortune Bowl meeting on Wednesday.


Worse than third only once in 10 previous starts, the English-bred five-year-old son of Sakhee’s Secret just needed that ounce of luck to finish at the thicker end of the prizemoney in yet another field replete with hard knockers, none more fearsome than the unbeaten Jomo.


Luck was indeed on his side on this auspicious second day of the Lunar New Year.  

Elite Power (Noh Senari) fends off the fast-closing Jomo (Daniel Moor) to take out the Lucky Last.

Well ridden by Noh Senari, Elite Power’s well-timed run and Jomo’s (Daniel Moor) less forward run than usual arguably accounted for the difference between winning and playing second fiddle again (he ran second at his last three starts).


It was the well-backed The Big Easy (Vlad Duric) who was being hailed the winner when he snuck up on the inside of the weakening Lonhro Gold (Zy Nor Azman) at the top of the straight, but his reign at the top would not last very long either.


After a cosy trip in transit in sixth, Elite Power ($38) was thundering home with a withering burst at the 200m while Jomo the favourite was leaving it late in his bid to keep his record unblemished after being hard-ridden throughout. The All Too Hard four-year-old was obviously not acting too kindly with the kickback flying about from the Polytrack, having been more accustomed to breathing clean air when leading the pack at his previous three starts.


In spite of the torrid trip, Kranji’s biggest horse still showed he was all class and courage as he leapt with his gigantic strides inside the last 100 yards, but Elite Power, who had in the meantime outsprinted Nova Vocal (Michael Rodd) and The Big Easy, was home and hosed, with a neck splitting the pair at the line.


Nova Vocal ran a good third another 1 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 59.2 seconds for the Polytrack 1000m speed dash.


Winning trainer Mark Walker said the way they clapped along upfront had him smiling from a long way out.


“I had a funny feeling the way the race was panning out was going to suit him today,” said the Kiwi handler who was bookending the Fortune Bowl meeting having opened proceedings with Lim’s Rhythm (Troy See) in the $38,000 Year Of The Pig Stakes, a Kranji Stakes D race over 1400m.


“Noh does not ride a lot for us, but he listened to the instructions. We were also lucky he could get a nice run with cover, if things didn’t work out, he would have been four or five wide.”


Noh said the ride was pretty straightforward even if the ominously oversized shadow of Jomo lurking late did give him a scare.


“I’ve been riding trackwork for Mark Walker recently and I’m very honoured to get a win for him today,” said the Singaporean rider.


“Coming up to the race, it was a pretty straightforward ride. I just had to sit back behind Jomo or The Big Easy.


“Jomo didn’t go in front, but we still had a nice run and he quickened up nicely. I could feel Jomo come back at us, but my horse was able to deliver.


“A big thank you to the Elite Performance Stable as well.”


As is often the case these days, Mr Aloysius Chew, the racing manager of the rising outfit had a throng of fans cheering at the winner’s stall, a sight that is never unwelcomed in horse racing.


A three-time winner in England, including a Listed race over 1200m at Redcar in 2016, when known as Wick Powell and prepared in North Yorkshire by trainer David Barron, Elite Power’s local record now stands at two wins and eight placings from 11 starts for stakes earnings past the $175,000 mark for the Elite Performance Stable.