The new Michael Clements-Olivier Placais pairing may soon become more of a regular fixture following their double on Monday.
The Zimbabwean-born handler and the French jockey don’t combine all that often, with only a win on Classic Express back in March 2011 as their solitary success sealed together until Only Win and Justice Day gave the partnership a new impetus on New Year’s Day.
With the recent reshuffle in the riding ranks following the non-renewal of six jockeys including leading riders Manoel Nunes, Derreck David and Oscar Chavez, trainers and owners had to think out of the box when booking jockeys and that is how new opportunities have started to surface this year.
Justice Day (Olivier Placais) wears down Captain Jamie (Nooresh Juglall, obscured) to take out
“With the change in the jockeys this year, it’s created opportunities for a lot of riders, and Olivier was one of them,” said Clements.
“It’s not just Olivier who will benefit from this reshuffle, but he has certainly done very well for us today. He rode both horses very well.”
Clements said that Justice Day was a horse who was well placed in the $80,000 Vladimir Duric Stakes, a Class 3 Division 1 race over 1200m.
“Like most European horses, he likes a bit of give in the track. He needs two days of rain, which we don’t usually get in Singapore, but we got it this time,” said Clements.
“He did well on wet tracks in Europe and I think he was in the right place in the handicaps.
“He’s a genuine horse who trialled very well last week. He was just freshened up and I gave him a decent chance today, even if seven furlongs should be better for him.”
An Acclamation seven-year-old entire who was a six-time winner in Ireland, four times on rain-affected tracks, Justice Day ($70) was finally breaking the duck at his 18th Singapore start for the Lucky Stable.
Tapping deep down into his reserve, the Irish-bred wore down a very combative Captain Jamie (Nooresh Juglall) inside the last 200m before prevailing by a short head. Sun Dream (Benny Woodworth) ran third another half-a-length away. The winning time was 1min 9.43secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.
“He had a great journey behind the leader Captain Jamie, who we just had to follow and he sure took us a long way in. I just had to bide my time,” said Placais.
“In the straight, he gave me his all. Captain Jamie is a very good horse and that’s why he had to dig deep to overcome him.
“He is a small horse but he is built like a bull and he sure has a big heart.”