They don’t Makkem like Logan’s Lad, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

They don’t Makkem like Logan’s Lad

Kiwi trainer’s ex-stalwart hard to replace but Otahuhu finally wins

Makkem Lad’s name is unlikely to come up in those perennial discussions about who were the best horses to have raced at Kranji.

But to his trainer Donna Logan, the bold little front runner will always hold a special place in her heart.

Now retired, the pint-sized galloper was hard to get past, especially when he got away with cheap sectionals in front, as his rivals found out eight times in his 29 starts.

To this day, that score makes him Logan’s most prolific racehorse at Kranji since she relocated from New Zealand to Singapore in 2018.

Some may argue that King Arthur (seven wins) or Logan’s first Singapore Group 1 winner Minister (2021 Kranji Mile) were better horses.

On paper, they were, but they were not 100 per cent pure products of the Logan school. They began their local racing careers with other trainers.

Makkem Lad, on the other hand, was there from the day Logan moved into her first stables at the “Village” (non-air-conditioned block) in February 2018.

He actually could have been a “black type” winner if not for Top Knight denying him at the last hop in the 2019 Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1,400m).

Logan was sad to see him retire shortly after his last race (a fighting third to Grand Koonta) in May 2022, but his owner George Doyle promised to replace him with a new buy.

Otahuhu was that horse tasked with filling those big shoes. In four starts, the Overshare four-year-old had not shown the same calibre or style (he comes from off the pace).

But he was not totally without ability, as his luckless fifth to Starboy in an Open Maiden (1,200m, turf) at his penultimate start on Jan 27 showed.

Punters still had not warmed up to him as his $40 odds in the $20,000 Open Maiden (1,200m, Polytrack) on March 2 might suggest.

However, Otahuhu showed he sure could run with a gutsy win from pillar to post.

Logan was under no illusions he will not be the next Makkem Lad, but hoped that maiden success was the confidence boost he needed.

“The owner George used to have Makkem Lad. Otahuhu carries the same colours, but he is no Makkem Lad,” said Logan.

“It was still nice to get a first win out of him. I told Jaden (Lloyd) to go forward and take a seat if something else wants to go faster.

“I also told him if he gets a nice soft lead, he will run a good race – and he did.

“Otahuhu is a suburb in Auckland. George is actually British and based in Hong Kong, but I think he owns a property in Otahuhu.

“It’s also nice to get a first win with Jaden. That’s his second win here.”

The South African-born Australian jockey has not scooped up winners by the spade one month into his first Singapore stint, which lasts until June.

Before Otahuhu, his only victory came aboard the Daniel Meagher-trained Pacific Beauty on his first day at the office on Feb 11.

The 21-year-old son of multiple-champion jockey and former Kranji visitor Jeff Lloyd, however, showed great tactical nous on Otahuhu, arguably his best chance after Arya Pakuan ($19, unplaced) from his book of average rides.

When the gates opened, they landed in front without spending a penny. Lloyd then dropped anchor, while allowing his mount to absorb pressure from Lover Boy (Carlos Henrique) and favourite July (Bruno Queiroz).

Into the straight, July did not take long to throw down the gauntlet. But the closer Jason Ong’s horse got, the more Otahuhu found, even channelling a bit of Makkem Lad from the way he fought back.

Otahuhu outsprinted July by a neck with Pacific Scout (Vlad Duric) third by another gap of more than four lengths.

“He began really well. I had to give him a dig to get to the front early,” said Lloyd.

“He was relaxed and gave a good kick at the top of the straight.

“He’ll get better with more racing. He’s still quite hot before the races.

“He’s getting better. Racing will be his best friend.”