KUCHING: Rambo proved he was still a cut above when he won the top class event in Race 5 over 1000M despite giving away many lengths by racing wide out all the way on Sunday.
The four-year-old beat off a late bid from stablemate Gadis Keningau (Jasmi Kamar) by half length – a good effort given the huge amount of extra ground the winner had to cover — to usher in the new season on a triumphant note.
Roslan Bujang’s jockeyship savvy of going for the firmer outer track paid off when his mount did not break strides on the better surface to chalk up his third win in as many starts and keep his backers smiling.
Zorro (Mazlan Bujang) finished third, five lengths further back.
Rambo, owned by Beraya Stable and trained Tamizi Putit, paid RM7.
Sama Sama (Roslan Bujang) led from pillar to post for his second win in a row in Race 4 (Class 2 – 1000M).
The three-year-old won by five lengths from Geronimo (A Othman) to pay RM6.
Storm Raider (Othman Putit) finished third 3 ½ length adrift.
Sama Sama is owned by Beraya Stable and trained by Tamizi Putit.
Datang Lagi (Maruf Wahab) upstaged two highly fancied stablesmates to take Race 3 (Class 3 – 1000M). The nine-year-old hit the front in the home straight, never looking back to score by 2 ¾ lengths from the favourite Ratu Mabahai (Roslan Bujang) with another strong fancy Hitam Manis (Jasmi Kamar) a distant third.
Datang Lagi, owned by Sara Stable and trained by lee Moi Fong, paid RM17.
Young Generation produced a big-hearted fight-back to win Race 2 (Class 4 – 1000M).
The seasoned campaigner, with Jasmi Kamar riding a strong finish, found the extra gear in the closing stages to deny Dash For Cash (Roslan Bujang) by ¾ length with Natural Beauty (Hamid Elli) a long third.
Young Generation, owned by Leong Stable and trained by Edmund Sim, paid RM13.
The going was yielding.
Notably, all the races were won from the outside track. It was apparent that most of the riders were avoiding the cut up inner track for safety reasons.
Last meeting, Sofia Pet stumbled and dislodged jockey Hamid Elli while making her run on the inside.
And last Sunday, a similar accident occurred when Big Chief fell while coming through on the inside, dislodging jockey Azizi Jasmi.
On a brighter note, there now appears to be a lot more movements (both ways) in the handicapping system.
Unlike previously, when the handicapping was largely static, the system has taken a turn for the better.
It is now more attuned to the realities on the ground with promotions and demotions made as warranted.
This will not only pave the way to a more level playing field but also prevent the runners from damage due to carrying back-breaking weights.
The move is also a step in the right direction both in giving all the runners a fair go and safeguarding the welfare of the animals.
A batch of new ponies has arrived at the STC and another batch, it is learnt, will follow shortly.
This will make for better racing with more exciting finishes in contrast to the all too familiar win-by-a-street scenario.
Competition – not exclusivity – is what makes the king of sports tick.
Hopefully, more importations can be made in future to bring back the glory days of local racing.