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New yard, no problem at all for Paletas

Despite recent stable transfer, 6YO needs little time to adapt to Jason Lim’s training

A change of hands in a short space of time did not in any way stop useful sprinter Paletas from producing his best in an impressive rails-hugging win on Sunday.

The ink on the transfer papers for the Iffraaj six-year-old had barely dried that his new trainer Jason Lim was already throwing him in at the deep end.

The Singaporean handler, who lost about half of his string after assistant trainer Mahadi Taib got his licence and walked away with 18 horses in June, had no choice but to roll out a recruitment drive if he was to stay in business.

New owners have come on board, and new acquisitions are on the way, but Michael Clements-trained Paletas was the first of a ready-made short-term solution to his stabling woes.

With a blank canvas to work with, Lim tossed the five-time winner (1,000m to 1,200m) into yesterday’s $70,000 Class 3 race over 1,000m, not really expecting a masterpiece first-up.

The sight of Paletas (Koh Teck Huat, $28) sneaking up along the fence as race-leader and favourite Darc Bounty (Blake Shinn) rolled off, to burst to the line one length clear of an almost dead-heating quintet of runners, was more than Lim could have bargained for.

Though speechless, Lim was happy beyond words when it dawned on him he had just won a race with a “complete stranger”.

“To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect today. I just got the horse for a week, but he did come to me in very good condition,” he said.

“He only did one gallop for me. He only won once in Class 3, but that was more than a year ago.

“The 1,000m was also on the sharp side, but I knew if there was good pace to the race, he would finish it off nicely.

“So, this first race for me was more like an education. But at that one gallop, I knew he was in form.

“He was actually off the bit at the home turn, but luckily, he picked it up. 

“When I saw him take the gap along the fence, I wasn’t sure he would run through as he’s won mostly coming around runners.

“But he was strong to the line, and TH Koh is riding with so much confidence now that everything he tries, turns into gold.

“I’m very happy for the new owners. The horse is under my name, but they own shares.

“This can only encourage new owners to come on board. The future looks good.”

Paletas’ sixth win but first under the new Lim banner also cements the Australian-trained handler’s knack in getting the best out of second-hand horses.

Sky Eye is his best example, albeit it took him longer to unlock the Per Incanto five-year-old’s potential. He has up to now got three wins from the Polytrack specialist.

The in-form Koh was enjoying a lucrative Sunday as he had bagged the two races with the highest purse. He earlier won aboard Cash Cove ($35) for trainer Alwin Tan in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race (1,100m).

Last week, he also claimed the day’s highlight, the $100,000 Kranji Stakes A race (1,400m) with So Hi Class.

“I just rode him (Paletas) for luck by following the favourite (Darc Bounty),” said Koh.

“There was room (along the rails) for him to go through, and the horse responded very well. 

“I wasn’t too worried about the trip as I’ve watched his replays and he did win over 1,000m. It was also a small field.

“Things are going well for me.”

The photo judge upstairs had a less cushy time, though, dissecting through Paletas’ beaten brigade of five – a neck apart, top to bottom.

Street Cry Success pipped Big Tiger for second place by a nose, with the same margin splitting Big Tiger from Romantic.

Darc Bounty hung on for fifth place another short head away, a nose ahead of Siam Warrior.