All’s good wth Mr Black Back
Eight-year-old On Line also catches the eye in trial, looks ready to end two-year drought
For the Black House Stable, it has been a long wait between drinks.
Their money-spinner Mr Black Back has been off the boil and winless since June 11, 2023.
Yes, that was the last time the son of Snitzel greeted the judge.
It was in a 1,600m race on grass and, on the day, it was A’Isisuhairi Kasim who plotted a winning route for the then five-year-old.
It was Mr Black Back’s third win for the connections and the last time he raced out of trainer Tim Fitzsimmons’ yard.
After that win, Mr Black Back went over to Richard Lim who, while happy with his new acquisition, has been very patient.
Indeed, Mr Black Back has raced just four times for his new yard, all without much success.
But there does not seem to be much wrong with the horse who arrived in Kranji on May 30, 2022, with a record of two wins in Australia where he raced as Maranoa.
Well, the slumber seems to be over and it is time Mr Black Back gets down to business and starts paying for his keep.
We had an indication of his ability at a trial on the morning of Nov 14 when he made it look all so simple.
Ridden by Manoel Nunes, he was quickly into his stride and his momentum took him to the front.
From then on, the rest were chasing his shadow, which grew longer as the 1,000m trial progressed.
Into the home stretch and Nunes was all alone.
If he had looked over his shoulder, he would have seen the chasing pack fading into oblivion.
Mr Black Back, under a hold, would go on to win by almost 10 lengths.
And, given the fact that he was never pushed to do anything more than was necessary, his “slow” time of 1min 05.04sec was expected and forgivable.
Mr Black Back is not a spent force.
Contrary to what his record shows – three wins from 13 starts – he can still raise a fine gallop and, on the strength of that win at the trials, he could be worth a punt at his next start.
They say age is just a number. Well, you had better believe it.
At eight, On Line can still raise a gallop and his “test” on that same Tuesday morning earned a thumbs-up.
The test was ordered after he returned lame at his last run on July 15.
One of just three runners in the trial, On Line was given a clean bill of health after that hit-out.
Partnered by Singapore Gold Cup-winning jockey Marc Lerner, On Line cleared the chute cleanly and quickly got into his stride.
The Frenchman fully respected Mr Black Back, a horse with an 85-point rating – compared to his mount’s 48 – making no attempt to challenge him for the lead.
So he settled his mount in second spot and stayed there throughout.
Sure, in the home stretch, Lerner needed a pair of binoculars to keep track of the leader.
But he was not bothered. He kept On Line on a straight course and the pair seemed content to take second.
For a galloper now racing in Class 5, On Line has plenty to be proud about.
He has so far won five races and in excess of $300,000 for his owners, the Falcon Racing No. 7 Stable.
Winless since October 2021, his last two runs have been encouraging.
Now plying his trade in Class 5, he took third on June 11 and followed it up with a second-placed finish behind Smoke And Mirrors on July 15.
Formerly with Michael Clements and now under the charge of Kiwi handler Stephen Gray, On Line is an honest runner and, now that the “test” is done and dusted, watch him get on with the job.
And yes, forget the fact that he is an eight-year-old galloper. It does not seem to bother him.
So the next time you see his name in a racing line-up, do not let his age become an issue. Do not let it bother you.