Aramaayo wins RDA Cup by a nose
Top Knight gallant in defeat, giving 6.5kg to winner
Weight can stop a train, so they say in horse racing.
It did to the much-vaunted Top Knight in the $85,000 RDA Cup at Kranji yesterday, when he went down brave in defeat to Aramaayo in the 1,400m race.
The Champion Three-Year-Old of 2019 charged up with his trademark finish but just fell short by a nose - the narrowest of margins. One more lunge and he could have been the winner.
It was obvious that the 6.5kg pull in weight - 50.5kg for Aramaayo and 57kg for Top Knight - that made the difference between winning and losing.
Winning trainer Shane Baertschiger will now take the Aramco Stable-owned Aramaayo to the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge with the final leg - the $1 million Group 1 Singapore Derby over 1,800m on April 18 - as his main aim.
The series kicks off with the $175,000 Group 3 Silver Bowl over 1,400m on Feb 29, followed by the $400,000 Group 2 Stewards' Cup over 1,600m on March 20.
Aramaayo, second in his first two starts at Kranji, was a deserving winner and 2kg-claiming champion apprentice jockey Simon Kok rode the horse a treat in the Class 2 race yesterday.
He positioned his mount in the box-seat third on settling down. He had Yulong Edition on his inside.
Destroyer Eclipse led by two lengths from Tesoro Privado.
Top Knight was worse than midfield, travelling well.
Destroyer Eclipse straightened up nicely from Tesoro Privado. Aramaayo gave chase and progressed like a good horse.
Top Knight straightened wide and still had plenty of ground to make up.
Tesoro Privado popped slighty ahead at the 450m mark but was in turn collared by Aramaayo at the 350m.
Top Knight, under vigorous riding by three-time champion jockey Vlad Duric, came with giant strides with 200m left.
For a fleeting moment, it looked like he would sail past Aramaayo but Kok had his horse fighting resolutely.
Top Knight made a final dive and appeared to have made it from the naked eye. But the photo-finish showed he lost.
Baertschiger said Aramaayo, who paid $23 for a win, ran well in his first two starts with excuses and felt positive yesterday with the weight advantage.
"I thought today was his day. He worked and trialled enormous. With the weight he was getting off Top Knight, if he couldn't do it today, he was never going to do it. He just did it," said Baertschiger.
"I still think he's better ridden further back. He had no choice today - small field, no speed. But he's come along nicely, the Derby is his main aim.
"He'll go to the first leg of the Four-Year-Old series in three weeks' time and progress to the next two legs. Patrick Moloney rides him in the first leg."
Kok said he was grateful to Baertschiger for giving him such a nice horse to ride.
"I felt like he's a very nice four-year-old horse. He's up-and-coming and will go through the grades - and today he gave me a beautiful feeling," he said.
"The pace was on and everything worked perfect. Once I got him to a clear run, he charged home really good.
"I was a littled worried when he salooned in front, he wandered a bit. The light weight today was a big help for him."