Racing

Nunes and partner Kim finish second in Macau

Singapore champion takes the third leg of the Mixed Doubles Jockeys Challenge

Singapore champion jockey Manoel Nunes came away with a win and a second prize at the inaugural Kampek Paradise International Mixed Doubles Jockeys Challenge in Macau on Saturday.

After a slow start, the Brazilian managed to win the third leg of the three-leg series held at Taipa Racecourse with favourite HOSTWIN GALAXY in the Challenge Cup over 1.500m.

The result went a long way in securing the overall runner-up spot on 29 points in combination with his partner Korean lady rider Kim Hye Sun under the Red Team.

The unique concept, which is the first of its kind ever staged, brings together six teams of one male and one female jockey from different countries drawn by ballot, and who do battle over three races, with the highest points accumulated designating the winning team.

It was the Blue Team, made up of New Zealand jockey Andrew Calder and US jockey Jacqueline Davis, which who took the honours with the first two legs won by Calder aboard OBRIGADO MAIS in the Challenge Plate over 1,500m and FELIZMASTER in the Challenge Bowl over 1,200m. The two victories gave them a big lead that proved unassailable.

The team garnered 39 points, 10 ahead of Nunes' Red Team.

As cash prize, the Blue Team won a special bonus cheque of HK$120,000 (S$22,000), while Nunes and Kim took home a cheque of HK$70,000.

The other teams which took part were Yutaka Take (Japan) and Jeane Alves de Lemos (Brazil) of the Orange Team, Moon Se Young (South Korea) and Katelyn Mallyon (Australia) of the Black And White Checks Team, Olivier Doleuze (Hong Kong) and Nanako Fujita (Japan) of the Yellow Team and Luis Corrales (Macau) and Emily Finnegan (Ireland) of the Purple Team.

Nunes actually began the challenge on a bad note when he finished last aboard Son Of Unicorn in the Challenge Plate.

But he redeemed himself with a third place aboard Rayden in the Challenge Bowl, followed by a pulverising win in the Challenge Cup aboard the James Moore-trained Hostwin Galaxy.

The three-time Singapore champion showed why he gained six titles at Macau with an expert navigation aboard Hostwin Galaxy.

Trapped four deep for the first half of the race, Nunes did not panic and in a deft piece of riding, was able to slot his mount right behind Japanese legend Yutaka Take's Oh So Easy 400m out before cruising past him with consummate ease in the home straight.

"It was good fun and to win one leg made it even more fun. Unfortunately, my partner Kim didn't win any race but she did help get a few points with two fifth placings," said Nunes.

"I was lucky I drew a very good horse in the Cup race. He is now unbeaten in three starts and I think he's got a bright future in Macau.

"I take this opportunity to thank the Macau Jockey Club for inviting me to this great day. We really enjoyed ourselves."

Nunes was also engaged in four other races which did not count towards the series, including the Group 3 Macau Sprint Trophy over 1,200m in which he could manage only a sixth place aboard Yanson.

The race was won by Sparta for Macau champion jockey Luis Corrales.