Lim's Cruiser eighth at Royal Ascot, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Lim's Cruiser eighth at Royal Ascot

Gray still feels proud of his champion, the first S'pore-trained horse to run at the prestigious meet

Singapore raider Lim's Cruiser might have finished only eighth in Saturday's £600,000 (S$1 million) Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes over 1,200m at Royal Ascot in England, but trainer Stephen Gray was still happy.

The Kranji-based New Zealand trainer reckoned his two-time Champion Sprinter ran gallantly. He even felt his Lim's Stable-owned charge could have finished closer to the winner, Godolphin's Blue Point, had he not overraced in the early part of the straight course.

Lim's Cruiser is known to have a feisty side, which was again brought out when he was seen tossing his head around after he was knocked around a little by New Zealand's Enzo's Lad (Fergus Sweeney), as the 18 fireballs went like the clappers.

It was nothing that jockey Vlad Duric could not handle, though. Once he had the back of the favourite Blue Point (James Doyle), he was a lot more settled, as race-leader Kachy (Richard Kingscote) clocked sizzling sectionals up front.

To see Lim's Cruiser in the thick of the action 400m out in such world-class company must have given Singapore racing fans plentyof excitement.

Lim's Cruiser had already etched his name in history as the first Singapore-trained horse to run at the Royal Ascot meeting.

Duric pulled the whip as the pace heated up, but due to the restricted use of the whip in the United Kingdom, he could not wield it the famously whip-happy jockey does back home.

Nonetheless, the Australian jockey was still able to extract the best out of Lim's Cruiser, who, however, started to feel the pinch inside the last 100m as the final assault went into full swing on the second rise of the undulating track.

Blue Point thundered past Kachy to set sail for the winning post for a rare King's Stand-Diamond Jubilee Stakes double, even if he had to contend with a late party-pooper.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dream Of Dreams (Daniel Tudhope) jumped out of the ground to make it interesting in the concluding stages, but just missed out by a head.

Lim's Cruiser stuck on as best as he could, but was eventually outsprinted by other horses to finish just over seven lengths off Blue Point.

At the unsaddling area, Gray's smile might not have been of the euphoric kind, but it still spoke volumes of his beaming pride as he took the Casino Prince six-year-old to a well-deserved shower.

"It was fantastic. He ran huge," were the Kiwi handler's first words.

"At the 75m, he could still run fourth or fifth, but he jumped a bit keener than usual. Vlad said he got bumped and that revved him up. That was probably his undoing in the end.

"He was left a bit flat-footed, but the first two are world-class horses. A lot of good horses finished behind him, I can tell you.

"When the race was over, he was actually still going past the line. I think the 1,400m is even better for him. He would have finished better if there was a bit of rain as well. The track had firmed up that day.

"In saying this, I'm very proud of him, he tried hard and gave his all. It was his first time over the straight and it was a good effort to run that well in an international race.

"He looked fantastic in the parade ring, he presented very well. I always knew I had the right horse to compete with the world's best. I'm really happy with his run."