A much better-behaved DiCaprio (Pins x Clermont Princess) came with a searching run to land his maiden success at his fourth Singapore outing on Friday night.
The son of Pins, who was sold from Trelawney's 2015 NZB Select draft, certainly did a few things wrong at his debut as an unraced two-year-old in July, with the main box he could not check being his tractability around the bends.
Ridden by an apprentice jockey on that day, Dicaprio struggled to negotiate the circle as the field came sweeping into the straight before weakening to run fifth to Steven Burridge’s smart filly Lim’s Racer.
Blinkers improved him out of sight at his next two runs, but the noted puller was still proving to be a handful for his riders.
Booked by trainer Laurie Laxon for Friday’s $75,000 The Southern Star Stakes, a Restricted Maiden race over 1200m, jockey Michael Rodd, who did ride him early doors, saw a noticeable improvement at his Tuesday gallop, but felt that feisty side was still in the house.
Even though the pairing looked to have settled into their strides quite well in the first half of the race, Rodd later revealed he had to keep a tight hold but at the same time not yank too hard throughout the race.
“He does good, but he’s still a hard horse to ride,” said the Australian jockey.
“I rode him once before he had his first run, and he has improved a lot, but he still wants to hang out.
“The thing is you can’t grab him or he will bite and go. He was hard work throughout but he chased the other horse (Winterfell) down quite well to win a nice race.
“He’s no champion but he will go through his grades and CK (Phua of Oscar Racing Stable) will have some fun with him.”
Tasmanian apprentice jockey Sigrid Carr must have thought she had her first Singapore win in the bag when Winterfell swept past Pomp (Wong Chin Chuen) upon straightening.
With 200m to go, things were looking good for the Dux of the South Australian Apprentice School but Winterfell started to roll out a little and Dicaprio pounced on him to get the better of him by half-a-length.
Pomp weakened out of it to finish third another three and a half-length away. The winning time was 1min 11.46secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.
Laxon explained that Dicaprio’s inclination to veer off the turns originated from his country of birth, New Zealand.
“He won a trial at Avondale in New Zealand and it’s a right-handed track,” said the nine-time Singapore champion trainer.
“He handles that way of going and that’s why he could not go around the bends here. He’s a lot better now.
“Tonight, he came from quite a fair way back and I’m pretty sure he must have run pretty fast sectionals in the last 600m.” -STC