Kranji came under the spell of “Mauritian Magician” jockey Karis Teetan after he rode a brilliant double at Kranji on Saturday.
Trainer Stephen Gray for one was glad he had on the fly booked the services of the Hong Kong-based rider who is on a hit-and-run Singapore visit to ride Horse Of Fortune for Hong Kong trainer Tony Millard in the $1.5 million Invitational Group 1 Kranji Mile (1600m).
The Kiwi handler had not had the best of seasons in 2018, and a touch of magic dust from Teetan’s polish aboard Hyde Park ($22) in the $45,000 Cash Luck 2013 Stakes, a Class 4 Non Premier race over 1200m, was exactly what he needed.
Especially when the Darci Brahma four-year-old looked like he would be gobbled up by the fast-finishing Taro San (Craig Grylls) inside the last 50 yards.
But Teetan, who had rated Hyde Park in front to perfection, somehow, got his mount to lunge on the line to prevail by the proverbial pimple from Taro San.
Board Walk (Barend Vorster) ran third another 2 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 10.87secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.
The win gave Teetan a magnificent riding double as he had fired the first salvo to that Super Saturday meeting (two more Group 1 races are featured, the Lion City Cup and the Singapore Guineas) with Big Wave in the opener.
“It’s good to get a win for Paul (Hickman, owner of Hyde Park) as he’s a good friend of mine,” said Teetan.
“The horse got to the front pretty easy. I had so much horse under me that I was actually surprised he won by such a short margin.
“I think he needed company when he hit the front on his own at the top of the straight. If the other horse had drawn level earlier, he would have found another length earlier and would have won by a bigger margin.”
Gray was delighted the winning number semaphored was finally in his favou r. Usually among the Top 10, Gray has struggled to really take off this season and was only at his 11th success this year when he is at least at a figure twice that amount at this time of the year.
“It’s been well publicised we haven’t had the best season,” said Gray.
“We’ve had seven individual seconds lately, which tells me the horses are running well. But we’ve had no luck in general, the horses are high in class, injury, bad draws, you name it.
“Earlier, Sky Rocket was another one. I thought we’d win but he flew home too late for second.”
Sky Rocket, who ran second to Biraz (Benny Woodworth) in the $80,000 War Affair 2014 Stakes, a Class 3 Division 1 race over 1200m, was actually ridden by Teetan, who would have been at an amazing hat-trick of wins from as many rides had he been a touch earlier.
To win by the scruff of his neck on another one of Gray’s has more than made up for the earlier defeat.
“Karis rated Hyde Park very well. We didn’t want to lead, but I told Karis this horse has enough speed to go forward and let them chase him,” said Gray.
“That would be his only way to win and that’s exactly how it panned out. At the 200m, I couldn’t look and when I saw the other horse coming, I thought we'd lose, but he hung on.”
Hyde Park has now taken his record to two wins from five starts for stakes money around the $40,000 mark for Hickman’s St George Stable.