Yusof saddles New Year Cup winner
Lucky Stable's $78 shot Constant Justice beats second favourite Rafaello to land $200,000 Group 3 sprint over the Polytrack 1,200m
Lucky Stable, staunch supporters of Singapore racing, saw their colours on the jockey of the winning horse in the $200,000 New Year Cup yesterday.
The rider was Glen Boss and the horse which did it for them was outsider Constant Justice.
A true bread-and-butter campaigner from trainer Mohd Yusof's yard, the six-year-old showed star qualities in the 1,200m sprint on the Polytrack.
With all attention focused on his nemesis Rafaello and Maximus, Boss allowed his mount to stay away from the speed up front. Indeed, he was content to have just four behind him when the 12-horse field made that sweeping turn which led them to the top of the straight.
For a while there, Rafaello was shouted the winner. But it was a tad premature as Constant Justice - charging down the centre of the track - quickly drew alongside.
Unlike that last start on Dec 9, when he was nosed out by Rafaello, this time Boss made certain the momentum was with his mount. And, when push came to shove, it was Constant Justice who turned the tables on the $27 second favourite.
Lucky Stable had their winner, Boss got going and trainer Yusof - the quiet man at Kranji - had bragging rights.
Earlier in the afternoon, champion jockey Vlad Duric got his season going with a win on hot favourite Federation in Race 2.
While it was a armchair ride for the popular Australian rider, the win by Federation would have pleased his trainer Mark Walker no end.
Sent off as the $12 pick, the three-year-old was never threatened in that 1,200m contest on the Polytrack.
Jumping cleanly from gate 3, Duric allowed his mount to amble along in third spot, all the while saving ground by jealously guarding his spot by the rails.
Flaunt, from Leticia Dragon's yard, tried to make it a pillar-to-post affair but it was not to be.
Federation, a beaten favourite on debut last month, had class on his side and, when they straightened for the run home, Walker's charge had claimed the lead.
While Flaunt ran on doggedly, he was never going to catch Federation who went on to score by 2½ lengths.
For those at trackside, they would have pencilled in Federation as a horse that will go on to win bigger and better races.
On that count, they would be spot on.
Like it was last year, jockey Benny Woodworth and trainer Daniel Meagher rolled back the months and history repeated itself.
The pair rode and saddled the first winner of the 2019 racing season with Fighting Warrior.
It was in Race 1 on New Year's Day last year that Woodworth brought Elise home to take the opening event. And yesterday, under the hot mid-day sun, he did the same with Fighting Warrior.
Always in touch with the leaders, Fighting Warrior was a handy third at the 600m mark.
With Woodworth riding a patient race, the pair were second on turning. Once there, and with the long straight ahead of them, Woodworth asked his mount for an effort.
Fighting Warrior was game enough and he soon had Man Of Words in his crosshairs.
A few taps with the whip roused him up sufficiently and, with 150m to travel, the seven-year-old lengthened strides to win comfortably.
Man Of Words stayed on for second - almost 2 lengths behind the winner - with outsider Excalibur holding down third spot, ahead of the beaten favourite, Sugartime Jazz.
Just for the record, Fighting Warrior carried saddlecloth No. 7 yesterday - just like Elise did when winning exactly 12 months ago.