Nimitz still at sea, but back all guns blazing

Trainer Steven Burridge couldn’t conceal his delight after the talented but temperamental Nimitz returned to winning ways for new owners on Friday night.

WATCH Replay – Race 4

Last September’s debut winner gave every indication he would be a handy customer to the Australian handler after he went all the way in an Open Maiden race over 1200m, but the rot set in soon afterwards.

The Ready’s Image four-year-old turned into a barrier rogue. At his second run last October, he was sent off the $19 favourite but his pre-race antics behind the gates saw a warning being placed on him.

Burridge sent the naughty gelding back to school, but it would seem he did not quite mend his ways at the five barrier trials he was put through.

Nimitz (Craig Grylls) fends off Wecando (Glen Boss) to claim Race 4.

If he was to show any bellicosity that matched the might of its famous namesake, the US warship, connections would have preferred it was played out in the running – not before.

Unfortunately, Nimitz continued to wreak havoc at the pens, even leaving Burridge’s apprentice jockey Simon Kok Wei Hoong behind at the gates at one barrier trial on March 22.

But through sheer perseverance, Burridge eventually won the battle. Nimitz ran sixth at his comeback race three weeks ago, but he was better-behaved, and Friday’s all-the-way win in the $60,000 Class 4 Premier race over 1400m was a nice reward to his minders’ patience.

Ridden by Craig Grylls, Nimitz ($35) was scrubbed up early to take up the running from favourite Eastiger (Vlad Duric) with the other well-backed Wecando (Glen Boss) humming along in the box-seat.

The order didn’t change much with the real acid test kicking in inside the last two furlongs. Eastiger had the first crack, but Nimitz was holding the fort well. Wecando took over with 100m to go, and looked a lot more threatening than Eastiger, who had by then given up the fight.

Still, Nimitz would not buckle as he dug deep to repel that second wave of attack to boldly prevail by a head from Wecando with Little Big Man (Nooresh Juglall) running on late for third place another half-length away. The winning time was 1min 22.97secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.

Burridge was a picture of both joy and relief at the winner’s circle, with his son Wade of Premier Racing and new partners of the gelding, the MM Stable, by his side.

“He’s done everything wrong, but tonight he’s done everything right. It’s a great result for his new owners and Wade,” said Burridge.

“He’s been rearing up at the gates, throwing the rider down the back at the trials, but we knew he’s always had ability. He’s just very green.

“He won first-up and beat Lim’s Magic then. He’s had one run for the new owners, but that’s their first win with this horse.”

Grylls said Nimitz was still rough around the edges, but he was on the right path to total redemption.

“He’s still very green. He was hanging out badly the whole straight,” said the Kiwi jockey.

“If he could run straight, he would have won more easily. They were coming hard at him, but I gave him a few cracks behind and he kept on.”

With that second win, Nimitz has now taken his stakes earnings close to the $55,000 mark for the MM & Premier Racing Stable.

Story by Michael Lee
11/05/2018
Michael Rodd

Lim’s Royal redeems himself with slashing win

Trainer Steven Burridge was glad Lim’s Royal redeemed himself with a winning turn in the $80,000 Class 3 Division 2 race over 1400m on Friday night.

WATCH Replay – Race 8

$80,000

Prizemoney

The Australian handler, who has lost a bit of steam after topping the log in the first two months, said that the Rothesay four-year-old had not quite lived up to the lofty hopes connections had built up around him.

Lim’s Royal stamped himself as a handy sort in the making at his first prep with three wins and two thirds from seven starts.

Michael Rodd yells words of encouragement to Lim’s Royal as the winning post looms.

 

But as his ratings soared, he took on better company this year, but his form dipped at his three outings at Class 3 level, leaving Burridge scratching his head, even if they were not dismal failures at all.

Hopes were rekindled at his last run in a Class 3 Division 2 race over 1200m when he was held up for a run under Glen Boss, and still flew home for fourth to Paparazzi, who runs in the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m) next Saturday.

Lim’s Royal ($22) was clearly back to his best when he was set alight on a long searching run from the rear by first-time partner Michael Rodd – who is not often seen in the navy blue and yellow silks of the champion owner.

The well-tried Chocolats (Barend Vorster) looked like he would finally land the chocolates at his eighth start when he rocked up at the 300m, but the resuming son of Fastnet Rock was probably undercooked as he soon got the staggers under pressure.

Black Jade (Olivier Placais) and Emergency Acceptor Life Is Gamble (Mohd Zaki) were next to pounce, but they could not match Lim’s Royal’s winning mood return.

That fourth win has now edged Lim’s Royal past the $160,000 mark in prizemoney haul for the Lim’s Stable.

In trying to get to the bottom of that sudden resurgence, Burridge said the rise to seven furlongs might have helped, but he remained guarded in his post-mortem.

“He’s been a bit disappointing this time in. We thought he’d be a nice four-year-old but he hasn’t quite lived up to those expectations,” said Burridge.

“At his last runs, he weakened out, but tonight, he ran well, maybe he liked the step-up to 1400m.

“Anyway, it’s good for the boss (Mr Lim Siah Mong of Lim’s Stable) to get another win. It’s also good for me, too, as I haven’t been winning very often lately.”

The 2010 Singapore champion trainer was the lamplighter till March 4 when his tally read 16 winners on the board. He then hit a speed bump – winning only five more races in the last two and a half months, so much so he has now dropped to sixth place, but still within striking distance (five winners behind) of current leader Shane Baertschiger who is on 26 winners.

Story by Michael Lee
18/05/2018