Visiting apprentice jockey Raquel Clark ended her short Kranji stint a winner after she steered Acrobat to a last-stride win in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1400m on Saturday.
At her first overseas stint, the Adelaide lass spent three weeks in Singapore 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 Kranji debut on May 3, landing her first win one week later in the Group 3 Silver Bowl (1400m), the newly-created first leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge series aboard the Cliff Brown-trained What’s New.
After a third place from three rides on Friday – with emergency acceptor Dutrow for her Singapore master Shane Baertschiger – Clark was determined not to let her chance slip by on her remaining four rides (Acrobat, Fusion Power, pick-up ride Our Pinnacle and Star Knight) on Saturday.
Last season’s South Australian metropolitan champion apprentice jockey bustled Acrobat up to grab the lead from the inside gate, but with Fight To Victory (Yusoff Fadzli) showing the same designs, Clark opted to follow behind in second spot.
Turning for home, Acrobat, D’Great Sun (Simon Kok Wei Hoong), Mr Fat Kiddy (Joseph See) and Duxton (Ben Thompson) gave chase, but Fight To Victory held on well.
But, at the 100m, Acrobat ($41) eventually collared Fight To Victory, with the Pins three-year-old eventually gaining the upper hand by a head to knock in his first win.
Mr Fat Kiddy finished third another half-a-length away. Even-money favourite On Line (Joseph Azzopardi) got caught in traffic in the straight, only making ground late on the outside to run fifth.
The winning time was 1min 23.45secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.
Clark, 25, was overjoyed she had ridden a winner for trainer Stephen Gray, who 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 this horse at work in the morning. He tried hard and was definitely in for the fight there,” said Clark.
“The inside horse (Fight To Victory) continued to kick back 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. They treat me like 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 had been 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.”
A NZ$105K purchase 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 mood ahead of the £600,000 ($1 million) glamour race in UK next Saturday.
Easy Does It (Ben Thompson) had to survive a protest from runner-up Overcoming (Daniel Moor) in the Stewards’ room before Gray secured the third win.