SINGAPORE - Longines Singapore Gold Cupwinning Michael Freedman introduced a potential classic runner at Kranji on Sunday.
From the way his newcomer HOLY WARRIOR won despite the 1,200m trip being a tad short, the Australian trainer (right) is going to have some fun with his four-year-old Irish-bred gelding.
After all, his new charge - his first for former glamour owner, Lucky Stable, which had won hordes of classic victories since the 1960s, including three Singapore Gold Cups - was a Listed race winner over 2,000m in France.
Based in Newmarket, the headquarters of English racing, Holy Warrior landed in Singapore last October with two wins (1,400m on a soft track and 2,000m on the Polytrack) from five starts in England and France.
One of his runs was a four-length seventh in Group 3 at Longchamp in Paris.
Holy Warrior did show his ability when winning his first trial on Jan 9 with apprentice Noh Senari astride.
In his second trial two weeks later, the bay gelding finished a nice third with Sunday's winning jockey Manoel Nunes aboard.
Thus, it was not surprisingly that the horse received strong betting despite the trip being considered short. He paid $23 for a win.
Holy Warrior travelled a handy and comfortable fourth before producing a quick turn of foot in the straight to beat speedster Flash Gift by a length.
Hammer Down, who led, finished third, half a length behind in the Kranji Stakes C event over 1,200m.
Freedman said that although the distance was a bit short, he felt his charge should run well fresh.
"You know, he could be a pretty handy little horse here," he added.
"From gate 1, we just discussed not to press him too much early, just let him find his feet and to let him travel where he was comfortable.
"You know, let him finish off the race, which was a bit short for him, and I'll be happy with that.
"But, you know, on the corner, you could see that he was really travelling and letting down very well."