Stephen Gray has Lim’s Magic Fit for Singapore Derby
Trainer Stephen Gray even thought the son of Manhattan Rain had “broken down” after he ran a lackluster seventh to Elite Invincible in the second Leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge on June 24 and returned lame.
But after more thorough tests were conducted, it turned out the injury was fortunately not as serious as originally thought. Lim’s Magic’s issue was a heel bruise that could be treated fairly quickly and had a good prognosis for full recovery.
Lim’s Magic (Glen Boss) will line up in the Emirates Singapore Derby after all.
The one race that he had been aimed at all along, the Singapore Derby, was right back on track, with Gray teaming him up with Sky Rocket in the $1.15 million Group 1 event over 1800m this Sunday.
“We were very worried about Lim’s Magic after his last run. We even thought he had broken down,” said the Kiwi handler.
“He didn’t let down at all. He pulled up very sore and was very lame.
“I suspected it was a fracture, but after we did some X-rays, it turned out it wasn’t that serious. It was his near front that had a deep-seated heel bruise.
“Our blacksmith worked on that back at the stable and fixed it. He’s come back good and galloped well this morning, and Glen (Boss) was happy with the way he changed his legs.
“We’ll see how he pulls up, but I spoke with Mr Lim (Siah Mong) and we have only one chance at the Derby. So, we will carry on.”
In 18 years of training at Kranji, Gray actually captured his only Singapore Derby to-date for Mr Lim in 2007. It was with the unfancied Lim’s Prestige, a hugely talented son of Pins, but not the soundest of individuals, and who memorably also gave supersub jockey Din Azis a winning pick-up ride (standing in for the indisposed Oscar Chavez) as his one and only Group 1 win.
Pound for pound, Lim’s Magic would arguably have been seen as a better 4YO prospect than Lim’s Prestige, especially after his slashing back-to-back wins over 1400m (Initiation and Class 4) last year.
The big-finish galloper has, however, not quite lived up to the hype, even if he did run an encouraging third in the first Leg, the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1400m).
As for Sky Rocket, Gray had actually set the son of Darci Brahma for the Charity Bowl as well, but decided to bypass it in the end.
“I didn’t run Sky Rocket in the second Leg in the end because it was only 10 days between runs,” said Gray in reference to the interval between his last-start win in a Class 3 race over 1400m on June 15 and the Charity Bowl on June 24.
“I thought I’d just prepare him straight to the Derby. He’ll go in a fresh horse.”
Daniel Moor has been booked to ride Sky Rocket in the Derby. The Australian jockey had a first sit on the gelding in a barrier trial last Thursday when they came from the rear to finish a nice fifth to Captain Jamie.
Stephen Gray and the Copper Belt Racing Stables (S) Pte Ltd is based at the Singapore Turf Club, Kranji. Originally from New Zealand, Stephen moved his training operations to Singapore in 2000.
Stephen Gray, together with his father, Kevin was one of the leading training teams in New Zealand. They finished consistently amongst the top 10 in the New Zealand Trainers’ Premierships. Gray relocated to Singapore in 2000 and has quickly climbed through the grades to be among the most successful trainers at Kranji. His major successes include the 2001 Kranji Sprint with ST KENTIGERN, the 2003 Patrons’ Bowl with LIM’S REWARD and the 2007 Emirates Singapore Derby with LIM’S PRESTIGE. GIVEN VISION gave him a huge thrill in 2009 by capturing the last two legs of the Three-Year-Old Challenge. Another highlight of his career was EMPEROR MAX, the modest sprinter from Australia who won ran a brave second to Lucky Nine in the 2014 Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint before scoring a well-deserved win in the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup two weeks later.