Hard riding pays off for Darci's Boy

Longshot Darci’s Boy sprang a major upset in the $35,000 Open Maiden race over 1400m on Sunday, but trainer Bruce Marsh said he did have a hunch he was not without qualities.

One placing in seven runs does not really make for inspiring stats, but Marsh noticed the Darci Brahma four-year-old did show good toe at his last race, but just tended to give up when the chips were down.

To the Kiwi handler, the Lincoln Farms Stable-owned galloper does have an engine but is just too lazy. He did tell jockey Manoel Nunes he should not be stick-shy with such a customer this time around.

Darci's Boy (Manoel Nunes) scores his first win at big odds on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club

The three-time Singapore champion jockey, who did partner Darci’s Boy once, heeded the instruction, bustled him up from barrier one to secure the lead, only letting up to give him a breather while holding his spot for as long as he could.

Favourite Libeccio (Vlad Duric) came camping on his outside to keep him on his toes, but when he drew upsides at the top of the straight, that was when Nunes let rip. As the Brazilian opened up his reins, Darci’s Boy got on the right leg, and immediately found another length, which soon turned into two, then three.

He looked home as Libeccio knocked up while Military Might (John Sundradas) valiantly tried to cut back the margin, but to no avail.

Then suddenly came the well-backed Eclair Shadow (Azhar Ismail) jumping out of the ground at the 200m, ready to deal a sucker punch, but it proved too little too late, as Darci’s Boy crossed safely over the line with half-a-length to spare.

Military Might turned in his best race to-date to hang on for third place another length away, one length ahead of a disappointing Libeccio. The winning time was 1min 23.8secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.

“I actually thought he ran well at his last start. He was up there on the pace, but just could not hold it together in the end,” said Marsh.

“I told Nunes to bash him today. He’s lazy and he needs to be woken up right through.

“It helped that the other horse came alongside to keep his mind on the job. I think he can go further; the 1600m wouldn’t worry him.”

Nunes said he just followed Marsh’s instructions to the letter, and they proved to be spot-on.

“Bruce told me to use his good barrier and put him up there early. He also told me he’s a bit lazy and he needs aggressive riding,” said Nunes.

“It worked out perfect. He jumped very well and we got a soft lead in front.

“When the favourite came up to him, it helped him concentrate better. I was a bit worried about the Long Course, but I had plenty of horse under me and he kept going strongly to the line.”