The Laurie Laxon-Oscar Racing Stable team claimed the trainer-owner’s honours hands-down with a winning treble on Sunday.
Laxon and his loyal partner Phua Chian Kin, who recently swept a ninth champion trainer title and two owner’s awards respectively, already threw the first splashes of yellow and blue spots as early as the opener, a $38,000 Kranji Stakes D race Division 2 (1200m) when even-money favourite Dylan saluted for Manoel Nunes.
Mr Dreyfuss was next up and though the $183 roughie ran third for jockey Michael Rodd, it was a sharp improvement from his first two unplaced runs, boding well for his winning turn for the formidable duo very soon.
Falkirk mare Octivia, the $13 favourite, then stepped out in the $35,000 Maiden race over 1700m for her 17th attempt at opening her account. She again looked like she would canter home when she cruised to the front so effortlessly from Nice Hat Trick (Koh Teck Huat) at the 300m for Corey Brown, but as she often does, she hit a brickwall, looking like she had done enough for the day.
But Brown reminded her she still had a job to finish, and she luckily kept finding to keep a short head in front of Nice Hat Trick on the line.
The way she just scraped home when she should have won by three prompted Brown to jokingly call her “a pig” but still praised her fighting spirit.
Mr Phua had barely settled back with his family, including son Oscar back on Level 4 that he was soon heading down again for another lead-in, this time in the $38,000 Kranji Stakes D race over 1600m after Bob scored an all-the-way win for Rodd.
With Laxon having brought up the declining strike rate as one of the topics of discussion during one his daily reviews over the phone with assistant-trainer Shane Ellis while he is still holidaying in New Zealand, the hat-trick of wins will certainly help assuage the veteran conditioner.
Their winless run since Mr Spielberg scored on January 23 has seen their strike rate dwindle from 46.7% to 12.5%.
“Laurie gave me a good scolding about the strike rate. Don’t think he will anymore now,” said Ellis with a cheeky grin.
“They all came from the Oscar horses. I told CK he should have just sat around the winner’s area instead of going back up!
“They’re no superstars but they do the job and that’s all we need, good bread-and-butter sorts who can win races.”
The Perth horseman welcomed each and every win, but was more particularly pleased with the one recorded by Bob given he can be a bit of a steering challenge to jockeys.
“He can be a difficult horse to ride as he hangs a lot, especially if you grab him up and he will fight with you,” he said.
“But Michael rode him a treat. He just let him roll along and it’s all worked out to plan.”
Rodd may have been at his first association with Bob, but the Australian jockey seems to have already mastered his quirks to a tee.
“I had to be aggressive at the start to let him know I wanted him to lead. He’s a funny horse as he wears one-eyed blinkers and can hang a lot,” said Rodd.
“Once I got to the front, I steadied up the pace and he was dawdling a little, but was just comfortable. In the home straight, he was just too strong for them.”
Rodd, whose three-month licence runs until March 31, has now brought his tally to 12 wins, which translates to one winner per meeting (given the Sunday meeting was the 12th of the year), a record the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey is stoked about.
“Things could not have gone any better for me here. The support from the trainers and owners has been amazing,” said Rodd.