Duke Of Normandy lands at Kranji
Former Air Force One gives owner wedding anniversary present
DUKE OF NORMANDY finally landed a win under his new name on Sunday - and momentously enough at a time when his owner Steve Levar was toasting to a happy occasion in France.
The IRace Media CEO and former Singapore Turf Club race-caller seldom misses a chance to be at the races with his wife Christine whenever one of his horses runs, but was glaringly missing at the lead-in after Duke Of Normandy came off a handy spot three wide to take out the $60,000 Class 4 race over 1,700m on the Polytrack.
"My wife and I are away on our 10th wedding anniversary. So, this is a great present. Ironically, he wins when we are in Paris," said Levar over the phone.
Winning trainer Daniel Meagher cheekily had a different spin to Levar's absence.
"I'm very happy for Steve Levar, as he's been a good friend for a long time. It's a shame he is not here when that horse won, but, maybe, he shouldn't be here when the horse runs from now on," said Meagher, who has taken over the training of Duke Of Normandy at his last seven starts.
"Seriously, Steve has been very patient with this horse, and I thank him for that. It's a horse who's had a lot of soundness issues, feet problems.
"Credit to my farrier Andrew who has done a great job to fix his shoe. Danny (Beasley) also rode him a treat, they were three wide but he didn't panic.
"His sectional times have been fantastic ever since he's been with me. He was more of a 2,000m horse before he came to me, but I'm glad he's shown he can be dropped back and still win."
Then known as Air Force One and trained by Steven Burridge, Duke Of Normandy was then a one-time winner over 2,000m, and has now taken his record to two wins and five placings from 17 outings for earnings past the $140,000 mark for Levar's Royalty Racing Stable.
Beasley jumped off deflecting all the credit to Meagher, just glad he had been able to put in the finishing touches to the long-haul task of getting Duke Of Normandy back to the winner's circle.
"He's a big boy and that's why I was happy to just let him stride up to that third spot, three wide, just keep him out of trouble," said the Australian jockey.
"Dan deserves so much credit for this horse. When you see him at the stables, he looks like a cat on a hot tin roof, he walks around very tenderly on his feet.
"Dan has got it right and has placed him in the right races. He went good on Poly once and he deserved a win today.
"He had lost a bit of confidence and that win can only be good to him."