Sun Mirage snares the RDA Cup
Singapore race round-up
SUN MIRAGE asserted his form and consistency to land the $60,000 RDA Cup 2017 in Race 4 at Kranji yesterday, giving trainer Desmond Koh his second feature of the year.
Koh took the season's first feature, the appropriately named New Year Cup over 1,900m on the Polytrack, with Guru-Guru on Jan 1.
The Singaporean trainer landed a double with 10-year-old KNIGHT SPIRIT (TH Koh) in Race 7. Knight Spirit, who rose to 74 points in his heyday but dropped to only 38 points yesterday, broke a sequence of 14 losing runs. His last win was on Feb 21 last year with 51 points.
Ridden by champion apprentice CC Wong, who has been riding with greater confidence and sureness with each passing day, Sun Mirage had plenty of admirers, starting as the second favourite at $16 for a win.
The $8 favourite was my best bet Lim's Racer and trainer Steven Burridge was proven right as had predicted that the filly wasn't at her top after the break and would benefit with the run.
Lim's Racer, the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe winner who was resuming from her dismal last start five and a quarter months ago when she was hopelessly left after bombing the start, looked to have every conceivable chance but her lack of conditions told on her when it mattered most.
She resumed 11kg heavier than her last outing but, nevertheless, ran a good third.
Sun Mirage was one of the first to jump and land in front in the Class 4 race over 1,200m, but Changbai Mountain snatched the lead from gate 8 with apprentice MM Firdaus astride.
Jockey Danny Beasley rode Lim's Racer into second after jumping from barrier 11, which was the second widest.
Changbai Mountain led past the halfway mark by two lengths from Lim's Racer. Wong was next on Sun Mirage, with Arion, about three lengths further back, biding his time.
Changbai Mountain increased his lead to three lengths on straightening and Beasley managed to get Lim's Racer to about half a length behind with 200m to go. But that was as near as the filly could go.
Wong also made his bid and brought Sun Mirage with a strong run down the outside. He, too, got up near the leader in the final 200m. But it took some hard riding to get past Changbai Mountain with 50m left for a three-quarter-length victory.
The winning time was 1min 10.16sec for the 1,200m on the Short Course E.
Lim's Racer was another half a length away.
It was Sun Mirage's second success from 10 starts.
He was second twice and third three times.
Trainer Koh reckoned there was good pace in the race and Sun Mirage was settling better in his races now. He also credited Wong for his jockeyship.
"CC knows this horse well and knew what he had to do. It was a perfect ride," said Koh.
Wong didn't want to be too far away as he knew his mount only got a short burst.
"He was making up good ground at the 600m and he kept finding to win a nice race," said the Malaysian rider.