Champion jockey Manoel Nunes bounced all the credit off to trainer Mohd Yusof after he steered English import Darshini to a convincing win in the $80,000 Gingerbread Man 2011 Stakes, a Kranji Stakes C race over 1800m on Friday.
A three-time winner over distances ranging between 1400m and 2000m in England, the five-year-old entire was coming off two outings over sprint races in Singapore before stepping up to a distance which was more up his alley.
After a quiet debut when eighth to Aramco in a 1200m race for Class 3 gallopers, Darshini gave a peek of his ability at his next start when an eye-catching third to Guilty Pleasures in a 1400m race in BM67 company.
Manoel Nunes guides Darshini to his first win at Kranji on Good Friday, picture Singapore Turf Club
To the Brazilian jockey, it was those two warm-up runs over distances not made to suit, which were pivotal to Friday’s success.
“I know Yusof does not like to hang around when his horses win, but he is a smart trainer,” said Nunes who went on to ride a race-to-race double aboard Silk Route ($16) in the next race, the $35,000 Better Than Ever 2010 Stakes, a Class 5 race over 1200m.
“He put Darshini over sprints first just to bring him on, and today over 1800m, he was right on target.
“It did help the horse that he drew a good barrier (one). He had a beautiful run throughout travelling good on the rails in midfield.
“The Long Course also helped him. He took his time to quicken but once I gave him a few slaps, he finished it off like the good stayer he is.”
Yusof, who has over 27 years of training mastered the art of dodging the media spotlight in any way, shape or form, was as usual reluctant to talk about the winner, his third for the year, but did express his gratitude towards the Lucky Stable for entrusting him with horses like Darshini, Constant Justice, Return To Justice and Third Rock.
“Not bad this horse - that’s the way to train stayers, build them up in sprint races first. There is nothing else to say, but I’d like to thank Mr Robert Ng for putting horses with me,” he said before heading to the mounting yard to saddle his next runner – ironically named Let’s Talk Now.