By Sharon Zhang, Singapore Turf Club
Visiting apprentice jockey Raquel Clark wrapped up her last meeting at Kranji on Saturday with a winner aboard Acrobat when he got up where it mattered in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1400m.
The cheerful lass is at her first stint overseas for three weeks as the latest Dux of the South Australian Apprentice Academy to benefit from a long-standing deal struck between Thoroughbred Racing South Australia and the Singapore Turf Club.
She made her debut on May 31 at Kranji and landed her first win in the Group 3 Silver Bowl (1400m), the newly-created first leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge series with the Cliff Brown-trained What’s New on Sunday.
Clark had three rides on Friday, with emergency acceptor Dutrow picking up third for her master trainer, Shane Baertschiger as her best showing. With her remaining four rides (Acrobat, Fusion Power, pick-up ride Our Pinnacle and Star Knight) on Sunday, Clark was determined not to let the chance slip by.
Last season’s South Australian metropolitan champion apprentice jockey bustled up Acrobat to the front from the inside gate, but Fight To Victory (Yusoff Fadzli) had designs on the lead as well, so Clark opted for the three-year-old son of Pins to follow behind in second.
Turning for home, Acrobat, D’Great Sun (Simon Kok Wei Hoong), Mr Fat Kiddy (Joseph See) and Duxton (Ben Thompson) gave chase. Fight To Victory held on well as his opponents seemed to be struggling to make grounds.
But, at the 100m, Acrobat ($41) found another wind, and he got locked in a tussle with Fight To Victory till the end, where the former gained the upper hand by a head to knock in his first win.
Mr Fat Kiddy finished another half-a-length away to run third. Even-money favourite On Line (Joseph Azzopardi) got caught in traffic in the straight, and only managed to make grounds late on the outside to finish in fifth.
The winning time was 1min 23.45secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.
The 25-year-old rider was overjoyed with her second winner for trainer Stephen Gray, whom is currently in Newmarket overseeing Singapore’s champion sprinter Lim’s Cruiser’s preparation towards the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) at Royal Ascot on June 22.
“I ride him at work in the mornings,” said Clark.
“He tried hard and was definitely in for the fight there.
“The inside horse (Fight To Victory) continued to kickback halfway up the straight, and I thought he was really going to weaken, but he got there on the line and that’s what counts.
“The Grays have been great to me and they treat me like a family, so it’s nice to get a winner on board for them.
“Thank you, Singapore. I have enjoyed my stay here a lot. Even if it was without a winner, it’d still be a great time.
“Glad that I have two (winners) now. I will be leaving on Sunday night, and then back riding in Adelaide on Wednesday.”
Costed NZ$105K as a yearling, Acrobat has had nine starts for one win and two seconds, raking in more than $85,000 for the Acrobat Stable.
On top of that, Gray took home two other winners in the form of Wecando ($109) in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race in the opener, and Easy Does It ($12) in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1400m, which was certainly a boost to the stable’s spirit ahead of the £600,000 ($1 million) race next Saturday.
Easy Does It (Ben Thompson) had to survive a protest from runner-up Overcoming (Daniel Moor) in the Stewards’ room before Gray had the third win in his keeping.