Justice Lass pulls her way to solid win

Champion jockey Manoel Nunes felt like his two arms had grown a few inches longer after he jumped off the second leg of his riding double on Friday night.

The Brazilian rider who kicked off proceedings with Dayuan in the first race, was at a good night in the office after he steered the Michael Clements-trained Justice Lass to an emphatic win in the $60,000 Class 4 race over 1700m on Polytrack.

For those who just enjoy the show on TV, it looks like child’s play, but Nunes’ exhausted look – and a few expletives under his breath - upon dismounting told a different tale.

Justice Lass (Manoel Nunes) finishes strongly to open her account at Kranji, picture Singapore Turf Club

“She was pulling so hard. She’s always overraced a little, but it was really hard to hold her back tonight, and I think it’s because it was over 1700m and the pace was not too fast,” said the three-time Singapore champion hoop.

“Down the back, she was behind runners but she wanted to go and I had to pop off the fence. Michael’s (Rodd) horse (Gold Reward) was on my outside and that probably helped keep us in.

“But she then took a narrow gap between the No 8 (Sugartime Jazz) and 9 (Golden Spark). She just pulled her way through it.

“It turned out to be a winning move because when we straightened up, she found a big gap on the fence and she just quickened away once I pushed the button.

“She had a light weight (52.5kgs) tonight and she just flew in the home straight.”

Indeed, the Irish-bred four-year-old mare by Canford Cliffs split away from her eight rivals once she found a saloon passage on the rails, going on to score by two and a quarter lengths from Shoqeet (Vlad Duric) with Happy Saga (Olivier Placais), who got squeezed 200m out as Gold Reward hung out, recovering late to run third another length away.

Sent out at warm odds of $25, Justice Lass ran the 1700m on Polytrack in the smart time of 1min 44.71secs.

Clements’ assistant-trainer Michael White described Justice Lass as one of those European imports who have taken a while to adjust to the local conditions.

“We found the right race at the right time for her tonight. She’s done a good job,” said White.

“She struggled a bit as she is from Europe, but to her credit, she has picked herself up.

“The way the race played out, her good gate, all the stars aligned for her tonight. She’s a nice mare and it’s good to get another winner for the Lucky Stable.”