River Radiance glows yet again
He's one of the best horses I have ever trained, says trainer Mok
Four wins and two seconds from as many starts - that's quite an enviable record.
Following his latest victory at Kranji on Sunday, trainer Mok Zhan Lun has labelled River Radiance as one of the best horses he has trained.
The Australian-trained Singapore conditioner, who has been plying his trade at Kranji since 2010, has never helmed large strings of horses, with handy sorts popping up on only the odd occasion.
Without a doubt, 2011 Polytrack champion Dr Grigoros is about the only horse who put the former foreign exchange banker's name up in lights.
While the soft-spoken handler would not put River Radiance in the same bracket yet, he certainly threw in a few more superlatives than he usually does on his winners after the New Zealand-bred four-year-old by Rip Van Winkle came up trumps in Sunday's $70,000 Class 3 race over 1,100m.
"He's a really nice horse, probably one of the best I've trained at Kranji. Dr Grigoros was also a good horse I trained, but we can't compare them yet," he said.
Mok handpicked River Radiance as a yearling at the Karaka sale in New Zealand and was glad one of his biggest supporters, Ho Pui Kim, bought the horse.
"This horse has matured nicely. He knows what he's doing now, he's a real racehorse," said Mok.
"As a young horse, he used to pull a lot and couldn't relax. After much training, he is a lot more settled now."
Jockey Michael Rodd has now partnered River Radiance to two of his four wins.
The Australian jockey praised Mok for his patient handling, and predicted that the horse's one-dimensional side on Polytrack would not last long.
"He was not easy to handle at first. ZL Mok has done a good job with him," he said.
"His record on Polytrack has always been good, but he's also a lot more tractable now.
"He was a bit slow out of the gates, but he mustered and, after that, I just wanted to keep him out of trouble and give him a pain-free run.
"Coming back from 1,200m, he did feel like he had enough momentum to sustain a run in the last 600m."
Rodd said when he saw the favourite, Autumn Assault, in strife at the 600m mark, his confidence went up. This was because he knew the horse in front, Ararat Lady, well.
"My horse was too good. Nothing was going to get past him. He's a good Poly horse now, but I think next year, he can go on turf."
River Radiance clocked 1min 4.46sec, just 0.49 sec outside Autumn Assault's record.