Heracles and Grylls run a blinder
Visibility was so ordinary in a rain-affected Race 3 on Sunday that jockey Craig Grylls had to drop his goggles mid-race, but his mount Heracles sure had a clear sight of the winning post when he let down on the outside.
The Kiwi jockey, who is no doubt used to riding under such conditions over the even wetter tracks back home, said he could not see where he was going in the $60,000 Class 4 race over 1400m at one stage.
With Heracles hugging the rails at the rear and copping flying clods of mud over the chopped up track, Grylls wished he had a pair of wipers at the 800m.
Heracles (Craig Grylls) comes with a late charge to claim Race 3, picture Singapore Turf Club
Doing away with his goggles, he could see better in the second half of the race, and certainly that gap which appeared to the outside upon straightening up.
Upfront, big mare Athena (Michael Rodd) was doing her best work to defy all comers, but she had not reckoned with Heracles, who once he was in full flight, steamed home to finish right over the top of them at the last hop.
In a riveting go to the wire, the $138 longshot, who was rising in class after winning in Class 5 company at his last assignment, got up by a head from Athena with Astrojet (Alan Munro) third another head away. The winning time was 1min 24.25secs for the 1400m on the Short Course.
“I couldn’t see a thing down the back,” said a mud-splattered Grylls upon weighing in.
“The horse jumped okay but he didn’t quite hit the ground running. He was a little flat-footed coming to the 700m.
“At the top of the straight, he started to lengthen up once I peeled him to the outside, but at the 100m, I still thought I’d run third.
“He just grew another leg and got there right in time.”
Kuah said he had been quietly confident the Italian-bred Fast Company four-year-old, who used to race in Astley Phua’s Olympian Stable – who races runner-up Athena – could step up to the plate in higher grade.
“He was up in class, but he had maintained his form. I told the jockey to drop back and wait for daylight in the straight,” said the former jockey.
“He can be a hard horse to ride as he throws his head about when you niggle at him. I think the blinker-pacifiers helped, they turned him around at his last start.”