𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐬𝐟𝐞𝐫, 𝟔𝐘𝐎 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐬 𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐝𝐚𝐩𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐉𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐋𝐢𝐦’𝐬 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠
A change of hands in a short space of time did not in any way stop useful sprinter Paletas from producing his best in an impressive rails-hugging win on Sunday.
The six-year-old Iffraaj had just received his transfer papers when his new trainer Jason Lim threw him into the deep end.
The Singaporean handler was forced to launch a recruitment drive if he wanted to stay in business after losing about half of his stable when assistant trainer Mahadi Taib obtained his license and left with 18 horses in June.
However, the Michael Clements-trained Paletas was the first of a ready-made short-term answer to his stabling problems. Further owners have joined the team, and new acquisitions are on the way.
Lim entered the five-time winner (1,000m to 1,200m) in yesterday's $70,000 Class 3 event over 1,000m with a clear slate to work with, not really anticipating a masterpiece first-up.
More than Lim could have anticipated, Paletas (Koh Teck Huat, $28) surged to the finish line one length ahead of a close-knit group of five runners when race leader and favorite Darc Bounty (Blake Shinn) rolled off.
Lim was stunned, but when he realized he had just won the race against a "total stranger," he was overjoyed beyond words.
I was honestly unsure of what to expect today. He did arrive to me in extremely good shape, but I've only had the horse for a week," he remarked.
He only gave me one gallop. He only ever had one Class 3 victory, and that was almost a year ago.
"The 1,000 meters were also a little on the sharp side, but I felt that if the race had a decent pace, he would finish it off nicely.
"So, this first race was more like a learning experience for me. But I could see he was in shape after that one gallop.
At the home bend, he was actually off the bit, but fortunately, he caught it.
"As he has won most often coming around runners, I wasn't sure he would run through when I saw him take the gap along the rail.
"Thomas Koh is riding with such confidence right now that everything he attempts succeeds, yet he was strong to the finish line.
"I'm thrilled for the new proprietors. They have shares, but the horse is registered in my name.
"This can only entice fresh investors to join the company. The future appears bright.
The Australian-trained handler's ability to extract the finest performance from used horses is furthered by Paletas' sixth victory, which is also his first under the new Lim brand.
The Per Incanto five-year-old Sky Eye is his best example, though it took him longer to realize that potential. He has so far received three victories from the Polytrack expert.
The in-form Koh was having a successful Sunday after winning the two events with the highest payouts. He previously triumphed in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden event while riding Cash Cove ($35) for trainer Alwin Tan (1,100m).
Last week, he and So Hi Class won the $100,000 Kranji Stakes A race, the day's highlight (1,400m).
Koh remarked, "I basically rode Paletas for luck by backing the favorite, Darc Bounty.
There was space for him to pass through (along the rails), and the horse behaved itself admirably.
"I viewed his videos and saw that he had won over 1,000 meters, so I wasn't too concerned about the trip. It was a tiny field, too.
"For me, things are going nicely."
However, the photo judge upstairs had a less comfortable time going through Paletas' defeated brigade of five, who were neck and neck from top to bottom.
By a hair, Street Cry Success edged Big Tiger for second place; Big Tiger and Romantic were separated by the same amount.
A nose in front of Siam Warrior, Darc Bounty held on to fifth position while being just a short head away.