Lerner looking to make amends on Kharisma
French jockey Marc Lerner has had a fruitful association with the Stephen Gray-trained Kharisma.
They have partnered five times for two wins and two thirds, one of which was in the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup over 1,600m.
The only time the combination went off the board was the last start. It was the Group 3 Merlion Trophy over the Polytrack 1,200m. They could finish only fifth to Celavi as the $15 favourite.
Lerner was adamant the widest gate (No. 11) led to Kharisma’s downfall. He cannot wait to prove his point this afternoon from Gate 3 in the $100,000 Kranji Stakes A race over 1,200m.
“Everything in the Merlion Trophy was against us, but I think he still ran a top race,” he said.
“He had a bad barrier and I think everybody wanted to be 2-3-4 behind the pace, just like us, and we got trapped out wide. With the wide gate, it was difficult. I’m sure he would have run a much better race with a better barrier.
“I also think he’s a horse who prefers 1,400m these days. He was a bit beaten for speed and it was tough to make ground.
“But this Saturday, he has drawn three, and he will be up with the pace. He’s a horse who cannot concede too much ground.”
Lerner said Kharisma gave him a beautiful feel in his trial last week and final gallop on Tuesday. In the trial, he won after he collared Celavi, who finished fourth with regular partner Louis-Philippe Beuzelin aboard.
“His barrier trial was not bad last week. He ran on at his own pace, of his own volition when he went past Celavi, I didn’t push him out,” said Lerner.
“I galloped him again and I was very happy with that. He’s in very good form. He’s going over turf this time, which is fine as he handles both the turf and Polytrack very well.
“He’s a very consistent horse who won six races last year. He deserves to win a Group race one day, and I hope he begins his 2022 season well.”