After finishing second best three times from as many starts, Day Approach finally knocked the door down with an emphatic all-the-way win in the $75,000 Lim’s Cruiser 2017 & 2018 Stakes at Kranji on Sunday.
As a bonus, first placegetter three and a half lengths away was stablemate Tigarous to hand trainer Michael Clements the quinella in the Restricted Maiden race over 1400m.
Lim’s Dreamwalker was in a striking position to claim second place at the 300m, but the wayward chestnut then suddenly shied away to veer right across the field towards the grandstand, unseating apprentice jockey Simon Kok Wei Hoong to finish riderless.
Day Approach (Vlad Duric) scores from barrier to box in Race 2.
Luckily, Kok walked away from the incident uninjured, even bouncing back in the very next race, the $50,000 Zac Spirit 2016 Stakes Class 4 Division 1 race (1200m), with easy winner Bluestone ($14) for trainer Cliff Brown.
With champion jockey Vlad Duric taking the reins for the first time, Day Approach was the fastest out of the machine from his outside barrier, but had to wait for 400m before he could drift across to the fence.
Thereafter, the English-bred three-year-old colt by Dawn Approach enjoyed a relatively hassle-free journey with only first standby starter Golden Sprint (Ryan Munger) keeping him company around his haunches, before leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind he would not be caught once he straightened up.
Tigarous (Ruan Maia) ran on well to win the battle for the minors, half-a-length clear of Golden Sprint. Sent out the $12 favourite, Day Approach clocked 1min 22.73secs for the 1400m on the Short Course.
Clements said the Al Rashid Stable-owned galloper might not have opened his account if it wasn’t for his natural gate speed.
“He didn’t have such a good barrier (12), but he has that much pace he was able to jump well and got to the front quite easily,” said the Zimbabwean-born handler.
“Vlad gave him a breather midrace and he relaxed beautifully. Coming into the straight, he kept on improving to score a nice race.
“He ran an okay time. I was happy enough with that run and will continue to utilise his speed in 1200m and 1400m races.
“As he is a Northern Hemisphere-bred and turns four on January 1, I will look for a Novice race for him.”
Clements was also pleased with Tigarous’ fast-closing second place, and predicted the Irish-bred Dragon Pulse three-year-old would get better over more distance.
“Tigarous has always shown he was looking for 1400m to 1600m. He showed great improvement today to run second,” he said.
“Lim’s Dreamwalker lost his rider, but Tigarous was also among the top three in the betting. The emergency acceptor (Golden Sprint) came in for late support, Lim’s Dreamwalker was also well supported, and in the end, the three best-backed runners ran 1-2-3.”
Thanks to his three placings, Day Approach has already earned a tidy sum of around $90,000 for his Kuala Lumpur-based Kuwaiti owner.
Two races later, the Clements-Duric-Al Rashid combination made it a double with another easy winner, even-money favourite Miej bolting up in the $20,000 War Affair 2015 Stakes Open Maiden race over 1200m.