A cliffhanger of a finish saw Olympic Anthem (StarCraft x Fire Song) get the verdict in a five-way go to the line on Friday night.
The Starcraft five-year-old has now strung two wins together, a rarity for the China Horse Club-owned chestnut in spite of the raw ability he has in stacks.
To his trainer James Peters, Olympic Anthem, who was at his fifth success from only 11 runs, which is after all still an outstanding feat, is a horse to wrap up in cotton wool.
“He’s a horse with a lot of ability but he needs to find his rhythm and run relaxed to be at his best,” said the young Englishman.
“A good speed like tonight suits him, but once he overraces, he goes too hard and he cannot produce.
“I will keep him to 1000m and 1100m on the Polytrack. There is a Kranji Stakes B race over 1000m in two weeks’ time (May 27) but I’m not sure if he is still eligible after tonight’s win.”
Winning jockey Michael Rodd who was securing his third win aboard Olympic Anthem agreed that it may be best to stick to a winning recipe with the rather quirky individual.
“He’s got so much potential but he’s a horse you can’t steer. You need to put your leg on one side to keep him going around bends or he’ll shoot off,” said the Australian.
“He’s his own worst enemy and he’s also a bleeder, but on his day, he’s a great horse.
“Tonight, he was ambling but I had to wake him up in the home straight. I knew he would keep attacking the line.
“We need to space his runs. He’s fresh every time he steps out and that’s when he runs his best.”
Flyer Sebas (Kif Toh) led as expected and was still giving plenty of sight halfway up the straight. Normally he tends to collapse as the swoopers come thundering down on him, but he kept finding plenty this time.
Favourite Nova Warrior (Shafiq Rizuan), who had the drop on Sebas from the start, was also still fighting tooth and nails while the big finishers Good News (Benny Woodworth) and Indian Jade (Alan Munro) were joining in late as they came motoring home for a real thriller.
But Olympic Anthem ($27) poked his head in front right on the line to beat Nova Warrior who himself held the same margin on a very resistant Sebas. One short head away was Good News who nosed Indian Jade out for fourth. The winning time was 1min 5secs for the 1100m of the $100,000 Open Benchmark 89 race.
With that fifth win, OIympic Anthem has now amassed prizemoney fast approaching the $300,000 mark for the China Horse Club. -STC