Distinctive Darci wins on class
Walker's rising star storms home in $250,000 Korea Racing Authority Trophy race
Just 16 days after his comeback victory from a three-and-a-half month spell, DISTINCTIVE DARCI landed the $250,000 Korea Racing Authority Trophy race over the Polytrack 1,200m in style at Kranji yesterday.
Leading trainer Mark Walker's charge, one of only two three-year-olds in the capacity 12-horse field, was shuffled back further than anticipated but produced a brilliant turn of foot to win by half a length from Laser Storm.
The grey Daniel finished third, one-and-three-quarter lengths behind and just a nose ahead of Pioneer Seven, the oldest runner at seven years of age.
The two South Korean raiders - Zentenary and Choegangja - finished ninth and last after being well up until the home turn.
At the start, The General and Distinctive Darci's stablemate and fellow last-start winner Viviano were slow to jump.
Darc Bounty, the other youngest horse in the race and a winner of four of his last five starts, led but was hounded by Pioneer Seven on his outside.
A length away were Wonderful and the South Korean duo. Right behind was Daniel, followed by Dragon Fury, Distinctive Darci and Royal Ruler. Further back were Laser Storm, Viviano and The General.
Pioneer Seven covered Darc Bounty going into the straight, a couple of lengths from Wonderful. Daniel moved up.
Jockey Vlad Duric weaved Distinctive Darci out for a clear run. Laser Storm cruised up wide in tandem.
The two leaders started to tire in the final 200m after going a bit hard. Distinctive Darci stormed home and hit the front about 120m out. Laser Storm made a final lunge but found the $14 favourite too good.
It was the winner's sixth success in 12 starts, bringing his prize money to nearly $400,000 for Dato Terry Lee of Fairdeal Stable.
Walker's right-hand man, Gus Clutterbuck, was not worried with the fast tempo "as long as Vlad got him to the outside".
"You know, the Polytrack's always a little better there and Vlad knows that, and the horse got the job done," he said.
Duric labelled Distinctive Darci as a horse with a lot of ability in his first preparation and Walker deserved bouquets for giving the horse a break.
"You know, he's turned into pretty much a finished product. He's spot-on now," said Kranji's leading jockey.
"He has stepped up in grade today at level weights against the older horses and overcame a bit of adversity.
"I was in an awkward position with horses all around me. But, to his credit, he found a way. I just had to help him out a bit and, up the straight, the race was over."
Duric admitted he was a bit surprised to be back further than expected but was glad that class told in the end.
"I sort of had in my mind that I would probably be third pair but I was hoping to be on the outside of horses.
"In my mind, he was probably a bit better than them but I just found myself in traffic and had to go around them and his class sort of came through."