Clark signs off with a nice winner
In the UK for Saturday's Royal Ascot meeting, Gray gets a winning treble with Wecando, Acrobat and Easy Does it
For Raquel Clark, the working holiday is over. Oh, how she must be wishing it never ended.
But, even as she bids goodbye to Kranji, she will have to agree that Singapore gave her a great sending-off present.
Two winners. One in a "feature" - the Silver Bowl on What's New - and another on Saturday. It couldn't get better.
As the latest Dux of the South Australian Apprentice Academy, her work was complete and, without a doubt, she had done her teachers proud.
On Saturday, when steering Acrobat to victory in that highly-competitive $75,000 Restricted Maiden event over the 1,400m, true grit won the day. You could tell, the young lass didn't know the meaning of defeat.
If the guys were going to deny her that bit of glory - and there were many, like fellow apprentices Simon Kok (D'Great Sun), Fadzli Yusoff (Fight To Victory) and Joseph See (Mr Fat Kiddy) - they would have to fight her for it.
They did just that. But she fought harder - never giving an inch and never asking for one.
Indeed, in that driving finish, she just about squeezed every ounce of energy from Acrobat and, if it took a toll on her, physically, she made sure it didn't show.
She was impishly chirpy at the post-race interview with race commentator Nick Childs.
"The (Stephen) Gray team treated me like one of the family," she said. "So, it was nice to win a race for them."
On her ride on the Gray-trained Acrobat, she said: "He was in for a fight and he was there at the line and that's all that counts."
Indeed, it was tougher than she made it out to be. Over the concluding stages, Fight To Victory was doggedly determined to spoil Clark's farewell party. But the plucky lass was having none of it. Using the whip to good effect, she urged on Acrobat to win by a head. Mr Fat Kiddy stayed on for third.
Acrobat, who is by Pins, rewarded his backers with a neat $41 payout on the win.
However, for the majority of punters who were at Kranji for that twilight meeting, it wasn't how they hoped their Saturday would pan out.
Indeed, they had to wait until the fifth race before a favourite obliged - and it was the appropriately-named Easy Does It who brought on the cheers.
But they were soon muted.
Easy Does It, ridden by Ben Thompson, had beaten Overcoming, the mount of Daniel Moor. But no sooner had the results been semaphored that Moor fired in an objection.
However, after a short wait, the all-clear was given. Easy Does It had won fair and square and, for the first time that day, favourite backers joined the queue to collect their winnings.
Incidentally, Easy Does It was the third leg of a Gray treble.
The trainer, who is currently at Royal Ascot in the United Kingdom preparing his horse, Lim's Cruiser for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday, had earlier in the day saddled Wecando to take the opener and, of course, then there was Acrobat in the second.
Wecando was ridden by up-and-coming apprentice jockey WH Kok who, on the day, sent his mount to the front in that 1,400m race and was never headed.
Neglected at the betting windows, Wecando paid a thumping $109 for the win.Blitz Power (N Zyrul) took second from the race favourite Super Talent.