Lim's Magic caps off great day for Gray
Kiwi trainer Stephen Gray took the training honours hands down on Sunday with a magnificent four-timer, even if the one that mattered in the Group 1 Raffles Cup got away.
Gray’s day began on a half-winning note, but a win nonetheless, when beginner Little Master dead-heated with Lim’s Pershing in Race 2.
He then doubled the score with Murrayfield three races later before handing owner Paul Hickman a second win with longshot Golden Curl in Race 8.
Lim's Magic (Glen Boss) is home and hosed in the last race on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club
The Gray yard could only hope the rampant form would continue in the Raffles Cup (1800m) but Lim’s Cruiser could not do better than third place to surprise winner Gilt Complex.
That mood dampener was, however, quickly forgotten when another Lim’s, and quite possibly the champion owner’s next rising star, Lim’s Magic, despatched his rivals with a stylish win in the last race, the $60,000 Cheyenne Dancer 2009 Stakes, a Class 4 race over 1400m.
An impressive winner at his last start in an Initiation race over 1400m three weeks ago, the Manhattan Rain three-year-old did not let down the backers who braved his outside alley to take him at $9.
After improving from a rearward position but three wide without cover at the 900m, Lim’s Magic was simply unrelenting when he exploded away 300m out, albeit still green as grass.
Humdinger (Nooresh Juglall), who began from even further off the track, nipped at the heels of Lim’s Magic throughout, and was the only one chipping away at the margin in the home stretch, but that was because jockey Glen Boss had already switched off the engine 50m out.
The Bruce Marsh-trained six-year-old managed to whittle down the gap on Lim’s Magic to one length with Mr Exchequer third another 1 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 23.98secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.
“He was three wide with no cover, but he was still very impressive. He also ran time,” said Gray.
“I don’t have anything in mind for him, just take him through his grades, but he’s obviously an exciting horse and we will look after him.”
On his superb day at the office, Gray paid tribute to the backroom boys as well as the owners.
“I have the chance to have a good crew behind me, from Mike Shaw, Nick Selvan to the track riders and boys,” said Gray who sits in eighth spot on the Singapore trainer’s premiership on 44 winners.
“I’d like to thank the team, the boys at home are the ones who make things happen, but also the owners who have bought good horses for me to train.”
The only bitter pill to swallow on the day was Lim’s Cruiser’s third place in the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1800m), his sixth consecutive defeat since his outstanding Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m) win in April, but Gray was not all that disappointed.
“He was brilliantly ridden (by Boss). It’s just that he doesn’t stay,” said Gray.
“He still had a great year for us. He is the best sprinter and for him to run third over 1800m was pretty amazing.
“I’m very proud of him even if it’s been very frustrating.”
Boss was able to ride at the Raffles Cup meeting after an appeal against the severity of 10-day suspension he incurred in Caulfield last week was allowed.
He took over Perth jockey William Pike’s seven rides, including Lim’s Cruiser, but had to wait until the last ride to finally salute the judge.
“I made no bones about how seriously talented this horse is,” said the unabashed admirer of Lim’s Magic.
“Today, he was three wide and green. Nothing went right for him, but he still played with them, it was ridiculous.
“I think there’ll be a trip to the paddock for him now, so he can mature further. I think he will go up to a mile eventually.”