Racing

Makkem Lad and Mr Malek inseparable

Kranji racing gets more and more exciting with many close finishes recently

In recent weeks, there have been plenty of exciting close finishes with dead heat, nose, short head or head results, keeping Kranji racegoers on the edge of their seats

A week earlier, War Pride and Kimitonara deadheated for first. Now, just seven days later, racegoers saw another inseparable pair at the winning post.

On Friday night, Makkem Lad and Mr Malek sent their supporters into a frenzy in their duel to wire. But, while waiting for the photo-finish, sharing the prize was better than losing it, the backers of both horses must have thought.

In fact, Patrick Moloney, the jockey of the Lee Freedman-trained Mr Malek, thought he won.

With the naked eye, it looked like the greater momentum and the outside finish had swung in Mr Malek's favour.

But the camera never lies. It was a deadheat.

"I thought I won. Reverse the barriers, and he wins on his own. He also sprawled at the start, which he's never done before, but luckily, he recovered quickly," said Moloney.

"But, from what he's done tonight to win in Class 3, not even Inferno was able to do that , so full credit to him."

Champion Juvenile Inferno's winning streak stopped at four when beaten by Siam Warrior last time out in Class 3.

Mr Malek drew Gate 13, the second widest, in the $70,000 Class 3 race over 1,200m on Friday night.

He had to burn some petrol to work across from his awkward barrier to take a seat outside leader Makkem Lad, the mount of champion jockey Vlad Duric.

But Mr Malek was still full of running when Moloney set him alight at the top of the straight.

The task of reeling in Makkem Lad proved to be tougher than they expected, however.

Up to the 200m mark, the Donna Logan-trained brave frontrunner was giving the increasingly strong impression he wouldn't be knocked off his perch.

Mr Malek was not putting in the big bounds as he did at his previous three wins, albeit in lesser company.

But Moloney never threw in the towel, driving Mr Malek hard to the line to finish in the same stride as Makkem Lad.

Last-start winner Absolvido steamed home from near-last to run third, 21/4 lengths away.

The winning time was a smart 1min 09.82secs for the 1,200m on the Long Course B.

"I thought it'd be a dead-heat. He's done a good job, and as I said before, it's very hard for these three-year-olds to win in Class 3," said Freedman.

Logan was also full of praise of Makkem Lad's courageous display, especially against the horse they had tagged as the one to beat.

"He's such a tough little horse. Vlad gets on very well with him," said the Kiwi handler. "We thought he could finish in the top four tonight, even though Mr Malek stood out. His turf form is not the best, but to be fair, it's been in Group races and he had bad draws.

"Both the horse and the jockey showed they had big hearts in that win."

With that fourth win from five starts, Mr Malek has now rounded up about $140,000 in stakes earnings for Oscar Racing Stable while Makkem Lad is around the quarter-million mark with that fourth win and four seconds from 11 starts for Eden Park Stud Racing Stable.

HORSE RACING