A rare Brazilian combination of horse-jockey took the honours at Kranji on Friday night.
Quite a few jockeys from the land of samba and football have plied their trade in Singapore, none more illustrious than Joao Moreira, and our reigning champion jockey Manoel Nunes to name a few.
But Brazilian versions of the equine kind have been few and far between.
Magic City (Manoel Nunes, on the rails) holds off Justice Light (Vlad Duric) to go all the way in Race 2, picture Singapore Turf Club
Of course, we had the outstanding 2009 Singapore Airlines International Cup winner Gloria De Campeao, but he was trained in France by Pascal Bary. Just-retired trainer Patrick Shaw did enjoy a bit of success with a few Brazilian-breds like 2007 Group 1 Kranji Mile winner Setembro Chove or Ricoco.
Friday’s winner of the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race (1200m), Magic City, is a welcomed addition to the ranks usually dominated by Australians, New Zealanders, Europeans and the odd Japanese and South African. Even if he may not be quite at that level – yet – Nunes, who has sat on him at his two starts now, was full of praise for the Holy Roman Emperor three-year-old, and did explain after the win the Brazilian connection was not fortuitous.
“He used to be trained by a Brazilian trainer in Uruguay, Ricardo Colombo. I know him quite well and in partnership with a Singaporean owner, he decided to send Magic City to Singapore,” said the three-time Singapore champion jockey.
“He went to Mok (Zhan Lun) first but had his first run for Laurie Laxon. I’ve spent a bit of time with him in trackwork.
“He had a bad draw (12) at his first start. I had to ride him quiet, he was quite green, but still ran well to finish fifth (to Shoot Up High).
“From the better draw tonight (3), he broke good and put himself there in the lead. He relaxed very well and was too good in the straight.
“When the favourite (Justice Light) came up to him, he found another gear and rallied again. He is a very professional and sensible horse.”
Laxon was certainly glad to have that rare Brazilian under his barn roof, more so when he had a lot of upsides from a future perspective.
“He’s a very nice horse. I don’t have any contact in Brazil and it’s thanks to Nunes that we got him,” said the nine-time Singapore champion trainer.
“He was caught on a wide journey at his last start and still ran well. I would say he is above average and should win a few more races.”
Sent out as the $24 second-elect, Magic City enjoyed a cosy run in the lead, and kicked again when even-money favourite Justice Light (Vlad Duric), who was bidding for an early race-to-race double for the Lucky Stable after smokie Kokoni kicked off the night in the opener, came alongside.
In the end, Magic City fell in by three parts of a length from Justice Light with The Odds (Michael Rodd) third another gap of 4 ½ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 10.47secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.