Magic City turns on the magic second-up
Laxon's Brazilian-bred steps out fitter and capitalises on good barrier draw
Improvement and a good barrier draw spurred Brazilian-bred MAGIC CITY to lead all the way home in Race 2 at Kranji last night.
Unlike his debut, when he started at long odds of $88 for a win, the smart money was on him this time and those who jumped on the bandwagon were rewarded with a juicy $24 win payout although Magic City started as the second favourite.
Trainer Laurie Laxon reckoned his charge had improved after his first run and the inside draw (No. 3) was a great contributing factor to the win.
A trial winner, Magic City drew barrier 12 on April 16 and raced worse than midfield before finishing fifth behind Shoot Up High in the Restricted Terms race over 1,200m on turf.
But, from barrier 3 last night, jockey Manoel Nunes managed to steer Magic City to the front and then got his mount to relax.
On settling down, Magic City was a length clear of El Condor. The $10 favourite, Justice Light, crossed in from barrier 12 to be next but overraced a bit, another length away. He was paced by River Fortune on his inside.
Magic City bade goodbye to El Condor on straightening but saw Justice Light charging up shortly after to level up. The duo kicked away to settle the issue. They were five lengths ahead of the tiring El Condor in the final 200m.
Country Boss, Beijing Star and The Odds closed in but found the two front horses in great galloping mood.
Responding to Nunes' vigorous riding, Magic City found a second wind with 100m left to pulled away and beat the unlucky Justice Light by three parts of a length. It was the runner-up's third straight second from five starts.
Magic City ran the 1,200m trip on the Long Course B in 1min 10.47sec.
Laxon called his winner a handy horse who has improved and said he had a good draw.
"He had a good barrier, the other did not, and that makes a lot of difference on the long course, you know," said the New Zealander.
"First start that he had, he drew wide and he was wide the whole journey but he still ran well and has improved a lot.
"I think he's above average, this horse. The other horse got up to him, he dug in and he kicked again, so it's good."
Nunes also attributed the inside gate and a more relaxed run as the winning factors.
"Last time, he had a bad barrier, barrier 12, and I had to ride a bit quiet. Then, he was a little bit green," said the three-time Singapore champion.
"Tonight, with the better barrier, he broke good, just put himself there and he relaxed. In the end, he was just too good for them."