The Barree Stable colours flew high for the second year running in the Singapore Golden Horseshoe (1200m) when Boomba (NZ) (Showcasing) came with a grinding run to claim top prize right on the line.
Last year, the Australian outfit headed by Glenn Whittenbury were successful with their stable superstar Inferno (Holy Roman Emperor).
As it has been across the board on the racing calendar, COVID-19 has turned the juvenile series upside down this year – no lead-up races (Legs), only one race and downgraded, prizemoney halved to S$125,000, and probably the most significant change and a bit of an anachronism, it’s open to three-year-olds given its late date of December (instead of July).
While Inferno is indisputably from another stratosphere, his new stablemate Boomba (both are trained by Cliff Brown and we sourced from the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales) fully deserved his own moment in the sun, albeit from a watered-down version of the Golden Horseshoe.
The son of Showcasing is certainly not without budding qualities, boasting one win on debut (Restricted Maiden race over 1200m) and a last-start third in a Novice race (1200m), but his barrier No 13 raised some concerns in a wide-open race where no standouts jumped out of the paper.
Regular partner Ruan Maia, however, rode Boomba like he was the best horse in the race, parking him behind the leading trio in a three-wide position, punching the wind outside stablemate Golden Way (NZ) (Swiss Ace), but seemingly galloping comfortably within his own steam.
Any doubts whether the New Zealand-bred had any petrol left in the tank was quickly answered when he was clicked up for the moment of truth.
In a thrilling three-way go, Boomba lunged at the post to down Infinite Wisdom (All Too Hard) by a neck, while Relentless (Hallowed Crown) had to settle for third place, another short head away.
Not only did the gutsy win conjure up echoes of last year’s win for Brown and Barree, but it also served as the perfect appetiser to their main course next Sunday, Inferno’s daring raid in the HK$22m Gr.1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin.
With Brown and racing manager Chris Bock already in Hong Kong to oversee their champion’s preparation, it was left to assistant-trainer slash senior track rider Tony Lane to give the debrief on Boomba’s pulsating win back home.
“Boomba is still immature and can only improve further, but he showed a great fighting spirit today,” said Lane.
“There were no specific instructions from Cliff, he told Maia to just ride him where he was comfortable. If they go quick, the plan was to try and get in behind as he has natural speed, too, and it’s worked out well.
“He’s not in the same league as Inferno, that’s for sure, but he’s done very well for us. It’s up to Cliff to decide what he would like to plan for him now.”
Lane has stayed in touch with the Australian handler since he landed in Hong Kong with Inferno on Friday.
“Cliff and Chris had to serve a 24-hour quarantine. The horse travelled well and came out for a trot this morning,” said the Queenslander.
“By all accounts he seems to have settled in very well. We’ll see how he comes along in the next few days.”
Maia for one was delighted he had notched a third feature event.
“I’ve always believed in this horse. I’ve ridden him from his first trial,” said the Brazilian jockey.
“He has really improved a lot and I was confident he would run well today even if I was scared of the barrier.
“But I know he has good gate speed and he jumped very well. I wanted him to travel near the leaders today.
“At his last start, I waited for the last 200m but he was a bit flat and ran third. I was closer this time, and waited a bit longer, and it worked out better.”
With that second win from four starts, Boomba has taken his stakes earnings past the $110,000 mark for the Barree Stable.
Brown purchased Boomba for $100,000 out of Haunui Farm’s 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 draft.