Gray-Boss’s Magic wish Derby was now
Michael Lee
Trainer Stephen Gray has always had a bit of time for Lim’s Magic, but if there was the one yardstick he always went by to measure his form, it was the horse’s regular partner Glen Boss. The Australian jockey has been the Manhattan Rain five-year-old’s sole partner at all his eight Kranji starts that have yielded the following stats: Two wins, one second and three thirds.

To Gray, that record could have been even more glowing if not for adverse circumstances that had often derailed their plans, especially when he was being aimed at the better races.

The latest was the hardest to cop. Lim’s Magic was warming up nicely towards his grand final, the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (1800m) when he “almost broke down” after the second Leg, the Group 1 Giovanni Racing Charity Bowl (1600m).

With only three weeks left to the Derby, the duo raced against time to get Lim’s Magic fit and ready. Boss told Gray he was still a little undercooked, but they pressed on and Lim’s Magic ended up running a brave third to Jupiter Gold.

Two months on and Lim’s Magic is gearing up for his comeback race, next Sunday’s $200,000 Group 3 Moonbeam Vase (1600m). There would be few excuses if he fails this time.

“He pulled up very lame after the Charity Bowl. It was a deeply-infected heel, and he was sore for a week, but the farrier did a good job to get him back,” said Gray.

“For three weeks before the Derby, he had no gallop, we just swam him. He doesn’t take a lot of work, we didn’t knock him around, and he still ran third in the Derby, which was a very good effort against these very good horses.

“I think he would have won without that setback. Glen Boss also said the same thing.

“I’ve been guided by what Bossy says about this horse from Day 1. He’s got a very good experience with good horses – not sure about the bad ones.

“He’s always rated this horse very highly, even when we threw the horse in at the deep end in the 4YO series. I’m very comfortable with what Glen says about this horse, he gives very good feedback.

“He had a let-up after the Derby and he has thrived since. We had a Class 2 race over 1400m on grass or the Moonbeam, a mile race where at the handicaps, he gets in at a light weight.”

The New Zealander was again all ears when Boss jumped off Lim’s Magic after his barrier trial on Thursday, where he just ambled leisurely at the back before finishing second-last, just over five lengths off the winner Mokastar (Barend Vorster).

“He was a happy horse in the trial. He was strong and relaxed on his own at the back,” said Boss.

“I wish he was going as great as that when he was going into the Derby. Things didn’t pan out the way we wanted then; for three weeks, he had no gallop and he still ran third.

“I’m very happy with where he is at now. The horse has had a better prep this time.”