Knowledge pays dividends
A little inside knowledge made all the difference for Felix Coetzee as the brilliant South African punched home promising Dao Dao by just enough to swear by in yesterday's final contest.
Coetzee has an intimate knowledge of the Tony Cruz-trained Kindacross, having ridden the sprinter many times, so seeing him up ahead with 300m to run was exactly what Coetzee wanted when he was locked away against the rail.
'There were a few anxious moments at that stage but when I looked up and saw Kindacross the horse ahead of me on the rail, I couldn't have been happier,' Coetzee said.
'I know from my own experience with him that Kindacross shifts out from the rail and once he starts to do it, there's no turning him back.
'So I got into Dao Dao and committed to going up the fence, knowing that the run along the rail was going to come.'
And while the jockey's knowledge of the opposition was vital, so was the John Size-trained four-year-old's commitment, with Dao Dao accelerating to get home by a neck.
'He's a lovely ride and just felt terrific going down to start. I really like his attitude, the way he went to the line and there's obviously some more to come yet,' Coetzee said.
Size was perhaps less circumspect than usual regarding Dao Dao's future, even hinting at the possibility of a Derby campaign, but said he was in no hurry to step up in distance with the gelding.
'He's a nice horse and just does what he has to do to win,' he said. 'He is going to get further than 1,600m but the good four-year-old races are still quite a while away and if he's going to still be in one piece when they come around, we don't want to tax him too much now.
'He'll keep going for the moment but once I feel he's run out of suitable races, he'll have a little breather. I'll be governed by the programme but we're in no hurry.'
For owner K.S Lee, Dao Dao was part of an international double, with his horse Gourmet Paradise also successful in Singapore yesterday.