Racing: Kiwi Karma scores gutsy win

Racing: Kiwi Karma scores gutsy win
Kiwi Karma responding to champion jockey Manoel Nunes’ riding to beat A La Victory in the $200,000 Group 3 CECF Singapore Prestige Classic over 1,400m at Kranji yesterday

SINGAPORE - Trained by Michael Clements and ridden by champion jockey Manoel Nunes, the Dsands Racing Stable-owned New Zealand-bred took off like a rocket as expected after the jump to be a length clear of Wimbledon and Mexican Gal.

Jockey Corey Brown then pressed ahead with Wimbledon, one of two runners owned by China Horse Club, sponsor of the two feature events to mark the China Equine Cultural Festival (CECF), by half a length on settling down.

At the 800m mark, Wimbledon was a length ahead of Kiwi Karma, with Mexican Gal, ridden by Alan Munro, cruising up to cover Kiwi Karma, which boxed up the filly.

Then came China Horse Club's other runner, A La Victory (Craig Newitt), Know Each Other and the $9 favourite Jimmy Rea (Tommy Berry).

Wimbledon straightened up just ahead of Mexican Gal on his outside and Kiwi Karma on his inside.

A La Victory, who shouldered only 51.5kg, loomed up menacingly and quickly shot to the front. While Mexican Gal backpedalled, Kiwi Karma plugged on despite her 57kg weight.

Jimmy Rea, with 54kg, moved up to put in his claim. He gave but not with the explosive burst that got him his hat-trick, which probably suggested that the nine-day back-up had taken its toll.

A La Victory was going well but suddenly ducked in at the 200m mark, unbalancing Newitt, who had to straighten his mount for a number of strides.

A La Victory then shifted outwards and raced greenly over the final 100m.

That probably cost him the race, but take nothing away from the winner, who once again showed her mettle and sheer consistency to squeeze a three-quarter-length victory.

It was Kiwi Karma's fifth win in 10 starts and the second in a row for Clements after taking the filly over from Laurie Laxon. She was second five times.

The incidents certainly gave Clements plenty of anxious moments.

But all's well that ends well.

Said the Zimbabwean-born trainer: "The gap closed up on the rails turning for home and then again, at the 200m mark, it looked like other horse was hanging out onto to her.

But on the agenda now is the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, starting with the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1,200m on March 29.

Nunes knew he was in a bit of trouble when Kiwi Karma, the $12 fancy, had to be restrained on a number of occasions between the 800m and 500m mark.

He said: "I was behind Corey and Alan came up and I got nowhere to go. I was forced left and I think they rode like the short course. Suddenly, they went, but my filly was too good for them.

"It was the long course, you know, I think they took off too early and went, and my filly was too good for them.

"She's one of the best three-year-olds here. She lost to Affleck, but she's so professional. She's straightforward."

This article was first published on Feb 23, 2015.
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