Kranji’s Meryl lifts the ‘Oscar’
James Peters-trained filly scores first win with the addition of blinkers and good front-running tactics
Oscar Racing Stable, which names its horses after Academy Award winners and just recently won the $1 million Dester Singapore Gold Cup with Mr Clint, saw its relatively new filly Meryl grab the winner's trophy for the first time on Friday night.
This was despite the three-year-old running over 1,600m for the first time at her sixth start and jumping from second-widest draw in the field of 11 in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden event over 1,600m on the Long Course A.
But thanks to the addition of blinkers, which perked the horse up, and a well-rated ride by jockey Alysha Collett, Meryl made it a one-act affair by running her rivals off their feet with a massive three-length victory.
She clocked a smart 1min 36.29sec on the yielding track.
Named after three-time Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, the James Peters-trained bay filly seems to have the potential to go further, with age on her side.
Meryl was unplaced in her first three starts but showed she was steadily coming to hand with two thirds - from 1,100m to 1,400m on the Poly and turf.
She earned her "Oscar" nomination with a top trial win leading up to Friday night and duly swept the award hands down.
Collett got Meryl off to a brilliant start and pushed her way to the front - the most logical move, given that she was drawn awfully wide.
Once she got to the front, she was allowed to dictate things. She gave them the slip turning for home and it was evident the bird had flown. She won easing up by three lengths from the late-closing God's Gift.
"I was concerned about the barrier draw. Obviously, going up in trip, I would have liked to have her ridden more conservatively, but not much to do from barrier 10 other than roll forward,"said Peters.
"Alysha made the decision to go to the front and got quite a soft run and then rated her well.
"Travelled really well into the straight, and I was just hoping that the 1,600m wouldn't be too far for her. But she won pretty easy in the end and wasn't stopping. That's for sure."
Peters also reckoned the blinkers made a huge difference.
"A hundred per cent. That definitely focused her and she just keeps improving and learning from every start.
"Hopefully, there will be a little bit more to come from her next year. I think she probably deserves a three-to four-week break now."
" She's only a three-year-old, so you sort of got some of the bigger races we could maybe aim her toward 1,400m and 1,600m.
" Obviously, she's quite exciting."
Collett also felt the blinkers did the trick.
"Yeah, I think, if given the same ride without the blinkers, I think it could have been a completely different story.
"She was switched on today, concentrating and doing things right for once. Nothing sort of took us on, so she was just going in her strides."