Lord Justice prevails when handled with care
Trainer David Kok’s patience with the chronic bleeder keeps paying dividends for his owners
There were runaway wins galore on Sunday, but one of the more dominant displays had to be in the $50,000 Class 4 race over the Polytrack 1,100m.
That was where the David Kok-trained Lord Justice brought up a three-in-a-row – amazingly over a span of 11 months.
At eight years of age, the striking bay with the white face may be seen as a late bloomer by some, given his only previous victory at his 10th start in February 2020, when then trained by Stephen Gray.
But a medical reason is actually the root cause behind the long time between runs and the late flurry of wins.
“He’s a bleeder. I have to space his runs out, keep him fresh to maintain his fitness,” said Kok.
“He’s bled a few times, but I’m glad he won easily.”
The Turf Bloodstock Sabah Stable-owned galloper’s career has been hampered by the equine scourge from Day 1.
It reared its ugly head for the first time at only his third start in 2018, when he was given a mandatory three-month suspension that blew the big hopes raised by two promising runs.
Patience was then key to holding the son of Showcasing together.
The kid-glove handling eventually paid off with a first maiden win under former Kranji-based jockey Michael Rodd in February 2020.
However, a year later, it was back to square one: Lord Justice had another relapse.
He was then transferred, alongside Sabah Star, to Kok, who was already training Win Win for the Sabah connections.
Kok treaded with the same care as Gray, producing a win early at only the second outing for him.
Unfortunately, the joy was shortlived.
The chronic bleeder returned with the distressing all-too-familiar sight of red nostrils.
As a repeat offender, the ban was doubled – six months on the sidelines.
Gutted, the East Malaysian connections reluctantly threw in the towel this time.
He would be better suited by the less stringent racing life in Sabah.
But paradoxically, his Kranji racing days were saved by an unrelated medical issue – on a global scale, that time.
“When he got suspended for six months, the owners wanted him to go back to Sabah to continue racing there,” said Kok.
“But, with Covid-19, the veterinary protocols were such that he could travel only across the border to the north, but not to East Malaysia.
“That’s why they decided to leave him with me. Maybe the six months have been a blessing in disguise.”
Lord Justice has repaid his owners’ new leap of faith with two more wins, never mind if they have to cool their heels longer for the next start.
“I’m not sure how much better he would be if he wasn’t a bleeder,” said Kok.
“But it’s already nice he’s won three in a row, even with his issue. Datuk Peter Chin (chairman of Royal Sabah Turf Club) and his members don’t like to rush their horses, they just want to make sure they stay healthy.”
Lord Justice has now amassed in excess of $110,000 in prize money.