Sports

Alibi beats star genius again

History sort of repeated itself yesterday - on the rivalry between exciting find Alibi and promising filly Star Genius.

On May 13, the duo were caught in a do-or-die battle, with Alibi getting the verdict by a short head in the Graduation race over 1,200m.

With a 2.5kg pull in another Graduation event in Race 5 yesterday, the Mark Walker-trained Star Genius appeared to have the advantage over her conqueror.

But the Michael Clements-trained ALIBI proved himself to be a horse heading for better things with another gutsy performance to beat Star Genius - this time by a head.

The David Kok-trained $12 favourite Conilad, a winner of two of his three previous starts, finished third, one-and-three-quarter lengths behind.

The top trio stood out in the race and it panned out that way but they finished in reverse order in terms of dividends.

Conilad opened as the odds-on favourite from the first bell but drifted to $12. Alibi was hot on his heels but was overtaken by Star Genius for the second fancy slot, at $14 to $17.

Yesterday's victory was Alibi's third in only four starts, all over 1,200m. Third-up, the three-year-old colt by Darci Brahma was beaten by only a short head by Iking over 1,400m.

Longhu, a debut winner who ran fifth second-up, led and was slightly over a length in front of last-start winner Moonraker at the halfway mark.

Champion jockey Manoel Nunes parked Star Genius beautifully in third place on the rails. Conilad and Alibi were a length away. Longhu led into the straight. Moonraker dropped out. Star Genius slipped up. Vlad Duric stoked up Alibi, as did Glen Boss on Conilad.

Star Genius hit the front 250m out and was going well. Responding to Duric's riding, Alibi got up to Star Genius in the final 100m and, after a tussle, Alibi poked his head down where it mattered most, the winning post.

Clements had thought that yesterday's 1,200m could be a bit short for Alibi but felt that his class could take him home.

"He's probably looking for a bit further this horse, so it was probably going to be a bit on the short side today," said Clements.

"I discussed with Vlad before the race and we did give him some sort of chance and let him run home, and he did a great job. I thought, obviously, he's a fairly classy horse and felt that was what was going to carry him through today."

Alibi was the second leg of a double for Clements, who also took Race 2 with newcomer KNIGHT CHEN BAY.

The Kranji trial winner, who arrived from Australia with three seconds from as many starts, scored easily by one-and-a-quarter lengths with the previous Sunday's Emirates Singapore Derby-winning rider Michael Rodd astride to pay $9.

"He's a horse that arrived here and just acclimatised fantastically well. He hasn't put a foot wrong and had gone good in his trials and he has had some good form from Australia before coming here.

"Yeah, he just loved the race today and did it pretty easily, so it was good."


...I think he’s a horse who might progress nicely for the Four-Year-Old Series next year. He’s a horse I’m a little excited about, you know.

— Jockey Vlad Duric, on Alibi

Alibi is a horse for the 4YO Series, says Duric

Like trainer Michael Clements, jockey Vlad Duric is also full of praise for the Alibi Stable-owned three-year-old Kiwi-bred ALIBI.

"Yeah, he's a horse who shows above-average ability. You could see when he got to the front, he got the wobbles a little bit in the straight, so those little things can be ironed out with racing and Mike has done a great job with him," said the Australian.

"He just gave him a little freshen up for today. I galloped him the other morning, he worked like a more relaxed horse.

"I said to Mike when we drew 5 and, with a bit of speed in the race, there's a bit of opportunity just to ride him in behind and educate him further, because I think he's a horse who might progress nicely for the Four-Year-Old Series next year.

"It's just a bit of stepping stone to get him there. He's a horse I'm a little excited about, you know. He's a nice horse."

Duric also believes Alibi will handle longer distances.

"Yes, he will be, on the way he handled himself today. He'll definitely go a mile (1,600m), and beyond that, who knows? He's heading in the right direction," he said.