O'Hara turns rogue horse into stylish winner
Trainer's judgement and persistence pay off
In SOUTHERN MAN, they had a rogue horse in their yard. But trainer John O'Hara and his team never gave up on the three-year-old.
They sent him to the trials. Not two or three - but six in March alone. Such a regular visitor was he that he became well known to the Turf Club's men behind the barriers - Damien Kinninmont and John Pepe.
Such were his manners - or the lack of it - behind the gates that, as O'Hara revealed, Southern Man had sent two of his track riders to hospital.
That was sad, but as Troy See, his rider yesterday, said: "It's the job we chose."
Well, yesterday in Race 2, all that patience paid dividends when Southern Man blitzed his rivals on debut to register a huge win for his owners and everyone else connected with the wayward chestnut.
Here's how it panned out. Jumping cleanly with the rest, Southern Man sat third, allowing Pomp to set a cracking pace. He moved up second at the 600m and, with 300m left, he was in front.
The rest, like they say, is history. Southern Man won the 1,200m race by two lengths.
Later, a relieved O'Hara said: "Special thanks must go to Kinninmont, Pepe and my team. They never gave up."
So, too, the trainer. And yesterday, in the fading light of dusk, O'Hara turned a sow's ear into a silk purse. Well done!
300TH KRANJI WINNER
A race later, someone in the cheap seats got a great souvenir and a potential hot item on eBay - a pair of racing goggles tossed into the crowd.
But it wasn't just any pair of goggles. They were worn by Vlad Duric when riding his 300th Kranji winner on ALIBI. The race favourite - he went on to pay $9 - won the 1,200m sprint in a canter, beating Constant Justice by two lengths.