Michael Lee
A touch of serendipity brought trainer Stephen Gray and loyal owners Mr and Mrs Chen together in the purchase of a Per Incanto three-year-old – and now they are the proud owner of a potential Singapore Guineas starter in Wecando. Gray and wife Bridget were running their eyes over the then two-year-old at the Ready-To-Run sale at Karaka last year, when Mr Chen happened to walk by at the same time.

A chat ensued and soon, Mr Chen asked what Gray, with whom he has raced horses for many years, including the likes of Darc Bounty and Darc Belt currently, was up to – and next thing they knew they became 50/50 part-owners of the son of Per Incanto.

“We isolated that horse at the sales and picked him out on our list,” recalled Gray.

“We were looking at him over the fence before he went to the sales ring and Mr Chen came along and started talking, and asked me what I was doing.

“I said I’m going to buy this horse, and he said ‘oh, that looks like a lovely horse. If you buy him, can I race him with you? So I said ‘sure’, paid NZ$40,000 for him, and we race 50% with him.

“Good thing Mr Chen walked along, otherwise, it wouldn’t have happened. It’s just good luck and good timing.

“I ran him tonight to see if he puts his hand up. He is out of a Grosvenor mare and we think he could be a Guineas horse.”

The $1 million Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1600m) is the third and final Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge and will be run on May 26.

With Wecando being Glen Boss’s sole booking for the night in the $85,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1200m, the Australian jockey could not have hoped for a better send-off ahead of his Sydney Cup mission on Saturday.

As the race was also run early (7.20pm), Boss could head for an early shower and not worry about the mad rush to the airport to catch the overnight flight to Sydney where he also has the one solitary ride – Ventura Storm in the A$2 million Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) for trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig.

“It’s a quiet night, but it’s worked out well,” said Boss.

“Credit to Steve who has given this horse plenty of time to come into his own. He has really improved on his maturity and is also physically stronger.

“I really like this horse.”

Boss had Wecando ($13) at the rear in a fairly-bunched field in the first 400m before improving four wide to be within striking distance as rough chance High Limit (Amirul Ismadi) led them into the straight.

Wecando responded with a sustained run from the top of the straight all the way to the line to score by two lengths from High Limit with Glamorous (Vlad Duric) running on late for third place another length away. The winning time was 1min 13.8secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.

At his second start following a promising closing second in a Restricted Maiden race over 1200m on turf a month ago, Wecando has now racked up in excess of $60,000 stakes earnings for connections.