It was double celebration at Kranji after the penultimate race on Sunday when both trainer and jockey had good reasons to pop the champagne even if it was on the back of just a modest $38,000 Kranji Stakes D race.
Science Fiction brought up a winning treble for trainer Brian Dean, but more saliently, a milestone target as well – his 400th career win since setting up stables at Kranji in 2004 and saddling his first winner Breed To Victory shortly after. Not as publicised as Dean’s landmark win, Science Fiction’s win also handed Australian jockey Michael Rodd a befitting 33rd birthday present, albeit one day earlier.
Dean was delighted at the feat (earlier winners were Power Lin and Lucky Strategy also ridden by Rodd), but the hard-working trainer is not one to go and paint the town red on just a figure, as he himself had been taken a little by surprise by the announcement on TV.
“I knew I was close to 400, but I thought I was one short, but anyway, I’ll take it,” said Dean, a former Melbourne Jockey who once rode on the Malayan Racing Association circuit before working as assistant-trainer to trainers Charles Leck and Laurie Laxon.
“It’s been all good. We had a bit of an ordinary year last year, but we’ve started off really well this year.
“My career here has been terrific. I’ve made some good friends and having so many winners also helps, but no, no partying tonight, it’s off to bed early as there is still work to be done tomorrow morning!
“As for Science Fiction, I told the owner that the Polytrack may help him. He also got a great ride from Michael.”
Rodd followed into Dean’s footsteps later as he went on to bag a riding treble of his own, his first in Singapore after scoring a double with Huka Falls and Torrecampo on January 4, when he booted home Knight Wager for trainer Michael Clements in the last race to vault him to second spot behind Manoel Nunes on the log. Rodd is now on six winners, which is half of Nunes’ haul of 12, but certainly a remarkable achievement which will put the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey in good stead for his wish to extend his current three-month contract.
“It’s my birthday tomorrow and this will be a nice present. Things could not have gone any better in Singapore up to now,” said the birthday boy.
“All the trainers have been very supportive and the jockeys have also been great as we’ve become great friends but still tough rivals on the track.”
On the middle pin of his hat-trick, Science Fiction, Rodd said he was only too happy to keep him lobbing along in midfield before putting the acid on him from the 600m.
“His form was not too bad and Brian had him spot-on for that race,” said Rodd.
“I rode him patiently as I just wanted him to float around with plenty of cover which I was able to get from the 1000m to the 600m.
“But I had no choice but to go off around Alan’s back (Super Spur) at the 600m when he went wide. I hooked him out wide and in the end, he sprinted away very well to win a very nice race.”
Science Fiction, a four-year-old by Bernardini, has now registered two wins from six runs for stakes earnings in the vicinity of the $70,000 mark for his owner John Hymet.