Trainer Stephen Gray was delighted Hyde Park has not taken long to set the record straight even if the second-up win on Sunday was not an exactly remunerative outing.
The Kiwi handler actually held higher hopes for the St George Stable-owned Darci Brahma four-year-old at his racing debut almost a year ago last April, but his seventh place in the Restricted Maiden race over 1200m had left him puzzled.
After a long break via Malaysia, Hyde Park returned to his Kranji yard with benefits that looked tangible enough, at least physically to Gray, but remained to be proven result-wise in a real race situation.
That part was taken care in no uncertain terms in Sunday’s $20,000 Open Maiden race over 1000m when he overcame an awkward alley to race away to a dominant four-length win.
Ridden by Glen Boss, Hyde Park ($34) began smartly to spear over to a handy spot outside D’Great Pride (Chin See Cheng) with the well-supported Ol Mate Buzzer (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) making it a line of three.
Turning for home, the leader looked a spent force, but both Hyde Park and Ol Mate Buzzer were coasting and ready to explode. There was only one detonation in the end, and not from the half a large crowd of dedicated fans (wearing caps to boot) amassed at the winner’s circle were hoping for – Ol Mate Buzzer’s Premier Racing Stable owners.
It was Hyde Park who burst clear for Boss while Ol Mate Buzzer fizzled out of the race to beat two home. Favourite Elena Of Avalor (Vlad Duric) did her best work at the finish but she was too far astern to threaten Hyde Park, who romped in unopposed in the end.
Dynamic Eagle (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) ran third another three-quarter length away. The winning time was 1min 0.71secs for the 1000m speed scamper on the Polytrack.
“We thought he’d run good at his first start and had hopes for him as a three-year-old, but he didn’t go good at all,” said Gray.
“He pulled up sore and was lame. We couldn’t find anything wrong, we just backed him off.
“He was lame again and he’s done all sorts of tests, but we just couldn’t work it out. We sent him up to Malaysia to Sandy Lines’ stables for a few months.
“He’s come back a different horse, he’s grown into a stronger horse, certainly better than before.
“It’s good for Paul Hickman who always wants to wins races, and I’m glad this one has come right. It’s just a shame he won for only little prizemoney.
“He’s definitely worth better than that.”
Boss jumped off saying he had not been expecting fireworks from Hyde Park, but he knew he was on a changed horse the moment the gates flew open.
“He gave me a good feel from the start. He was travelling easy throughout,” said the Australian hoop, who was returning from a two-day suspension.
“Steve has a high opinion of this horse, but unfortunately, he came back sore at his first start. He went for a break and came back a really nice horse.”