Katak Not Disgraced After Break

South African Calvin Habib had to settle for just fourth place in his first four outings at Kranji, Singapore on Sunday while still finding his feet.

But it was another star in the Cape Winter series, Katak, who ran a cracker for second place that day after a break in the feature.

But neither stood a chance against Street Of Dreams, who slipped clearly in Sunday’s SG$100,000 Kranji Stakes A-1400m race with a 50.5kg featherweight.

On the basis of four straight wins and the stamp weight, there was plenty of confidence from connections and pundits for Street Of Dreams, but few probably imagined the ease with which Dundeel’s four-year-old son eliminated his rivals when he was joined by jockey Ronnie Stewart was loosened down late to win by two lengths via a brave katak (Vlad Duric).

Street of Dreams (Ronnie Stewart) Wins Kranji Stakes A Race in Style (Image – STC)

Trained by Steven Burridge, the rising star sent the co-favourites katak into the strong Kranji Stakes A field and pinged the gates before settling beautifully into a practical position with cover behind a quartet of horses that included two popular runners, Mr Black Back (Wong Chin Chuen) and Sky Eye (Manoel Nunes).

In every way the race was set up for a battle royale, but as Stewart snapped off the heels of the leaders in the 500m and effortlessly drove forward down the straight, it became a one-horse affair as Street Of Dreams got his Defeated competitors in the 300 m with just a few steps.

Katak – who carried a whopping nine kilos more than Street Of Dreams – was the only serious challenger. He chased the winner down the straight, but the Ricardo Le Grange-trained gelding had a heavy weight and a very smart horse to overpower the final furlong.

The final lead was no indication of victory dominance and while Katak would not have lost friends with his superb opening performance after an injury layoff, it was another three lengths to the honest Sacred Croix (Benny Woodworth). Third with the fast closing quarter back (Ibrahim Mamat) another half length back in fourth place.

The winning time was a smooth 1min 20.65s for the 1400m on the short course and yielding track, suggesting the win was something special, but Burridge was quick to point out that it was the lightweight that did it everything made a difference.

“(Owner) Joe (Giovanni) and I were talking about this a while ago and we figured if he goes to class 3 he’ll be 59 (kilos) but if he comes here (he’d be) wearing 55. a-half (kilos),” the Australian conditioning coach told race presenter Scott Bailey after the race.

“If he’s ever going to beat her, it’s today.

“Ronnie rode him very well. Manoel would probably have ridden him had he made the weight but Ronnie rode him trackwork and he liked the horse.

“As long as he (Street Of Dreams) can stay healthy in his wind and his legs – but no problem with his legs – just the wind, which is all good at this stage, I think he can go a long way. I keep my fingers crossed.

“He continued to improve, but the weight was a deciding factor today. Next time he will face them a little differently, so he needs to improve again.”

Burridge — who made it double from race to race after Invincible Tycoon (Marc Lerner) won the $50,000 Class 4 1200m race last race — has options for the next run of Street Of Dreams, but will let the horse decide.

“It will all depend on how he boots up,” he continued.

“There is another Kranji Stakes A mile race in a couple of weeks (March 4th) but he can go straight to the Gr1 Raffles Cup 1600m on March 25th.”

His jockey – who had to lose weight to ride the Australian-bred gelding – was excited about what could be a force to be reckoned with in this year’s group races.

“I was pretty excited after testing it,” Stewart said.

“It’s always different on race day. I’ve had a hard time coming down (to 50.5kg) but in all fairness to Steve he asked me three weeks ago so I’ve had plenty of time to prepare.

“It was still hard to get down (to the weight) but I knew it would be worth it.

“He’s a serious horse. I was a bit concerned when he jumped so well, but he switched off.

“I got there (at the front) a bit early but it was just nice when I put a pair around him (whip), he pulled away like a really good horse does.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve sat on a horse that felt so good in Singapore.”

When asked by Bailey to compare Street of Dreams to the mighty mare Jolie’s Shinju, with whom Stewart clinched a clean win in all three stages of the previous edition of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge series in 2009, the affable tire was wary , but not dismissive.

“Definitely. Different kind of horses but (although) I know he was a lightweight today, the way he won was quite dominant and he gives you a great feeling,” he said.

“I think they will have a lot of fun with this horse.”

Street Of Dreams’ fifth straight win took his career prize money to over SG$170,000.

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