Lightning return to the top for Curatolo in IRT Juvenile Stakes

WATCH Replay – Race 4

French jockey Ryan Curatolo was a man in a hurry after he drove Lim’s Lightning first across the line to take out the $90,000 IRT Juvenile Stakes Open 2YO race over 1200m on Friday.

The 26-year-old rider fractured his right ankle on May 4 after a fall from the Mark Walker-trained Lim’s Rhythm (incidentally his one and only ride this Sunday in a Restricted Maiden race over 1600m) on the way to the barriers, and was told he would need six weeks to recover.

But thanks to the “miracle hands” of a Chinese therapist and regular fitness workouts, Curatolo, who rode in US and Macau previously, made his racing comeback one week earlier on Friday with a healthy book of five rides.

Lim’s Lightning (Ryan Curatolo) scores going away in the IRT Juvenile Stakes on Friday.

After two unplaced rides aboard Swift Embrace and Sacred Galaxy, Curatolo was right on target on Lim’s Lightning in the third Leg of the Singapore Golden Horseshoe series.

“I was out for five weeks, and I was working with a Chinese therapist who was amazing. I am very thankful to him,” said Curatolo, who is at his 23rd win of the season.

“I had been eating well, but I had to start to diet as I got a little heavier, but now my fitness is pretty good.

“I’m very pleased to get the opportunity (from owner Mr Lim Siah Mong of Lim’s Stable), and I thank everyone who has been supporting me.”

On the two-year-old son of Lope De Vega who last ran third on debut in a Novice race over 1200m with Daniel Moor aboard, Curatolo noted his greenness, but was glad with the way the gelding raced away to score.

“I watched the replay and studied the race. He did not have the best trip,” said Curatolo.

“Today, he broke from barrier 13, put himself in a good position. I just sat there and relaxed.

“He was very comfortable, and when I pushed the button, he just raced away.

“He’s still a bit green, but he will improve further from this race.”

The Australian gelding was seen bustled up by Curatolo at the start to sit in a one-out-one-back position behind Makkem Lad (Alysha Collett) and Salamence (Benny Woodworth), who were both vying for the lead in front.
While Lim’s Lightning was trapped behind a wall of horses on the inside round the home turn at his first run, the $23 second-favourite was peeled out to the outside to make his move this time, before drawing clear for a four-length victory from Makkem Lad.

$19  favourite My Big Boss (Daniel Moor) made up ground late to finish third another half-a-length away. The winning time on the Short Course over 1200m was 1min 10secs.

Winning trainer Steven Burridge was only hoping for luck when the Lim’s Stable-owned gelding drew barrier 13, but thought his previous run in a Novice race had benefitted him.

“Mick Dittman (Lim’s Stable’s racing manager) and myself spoke about it, and we thought he had a bit of ability, so we ran him in a Novice race first-up,” said the Australian handler.

“It’s always good to educate these young horses, and he probably ran a little better than we thought.

“With the wet track and all, we knew the experience would do him a whole lot of good.

“But when the barrier 13 came up, you just have to hope for luck. The horse was still quite green, but Ryan rode him very well.

“If he pulls up well, we will definitely look at the next two Legs of the series.”

The fourth Leg of the Singapore Golden Horseshoe series is the $90,000 Inglis Ready2Race Stakes over 1200m which will be held on July 1, and the fifth and final Leg of the Singapore Golden Horseshoe series, the $325,000 Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) will take place on July 13.

With that first win, Lim’s Lightning has earned around $64,000 for connections, inclusive of a $10,000 bonus for being an Australian-sired horse bought through the Magic Millions Gold Coast Ready to Run Sale for A$50,000.

Story by Sharon Zhang

Absolvido overcomes rawness to score second-up

WATCH Replay – Race 4

Top pick Absolvido gave connections and backers some heart flutters in the straight but his raw ability saved the day in the end.

After stumbling out of the gates in the $20,000 Open Maiden race over 1400m, the $18 favourite was dropped to the rear by jockey Glen Boss, whipping the 12-horse field in for most of the way.

The Rip Van Winkle four-year-old did start to improve noticeably from the 500m, but another furlong later, was mired in a big spot of bother.

Absolvido (Glen Boss) charges home to get the money at his second outing.

Absolvido (Glen Boss) charges home to get the money at his second outing.

Not only was Absolvido caught behind a wall of horses, but his greenness and inclination to throw his head around compounded matters further.

Sun Elizabeth (Mohd Zaki) looked all poised to give trainer Hideyuki Takaoka a race-to-race double after $16 favourite Across The Sea earlier won the $45,000 Class 4 Non Premier race over 1100m in the Stewards’ room, but Absolvido had in the meantime finally found a crack in the wall – and certainly looked more tractable.

Without resorting to the whip, Boss pushed the Steven Burridge-trained chestnut right through, steering him to a resounding 1 ¾ length-win from Sun Elizabeth. Ball And Chain (Olivier Placais) stormed home late at massive odds ($264) to take third place another length away.

The winning time was 1min 23.83secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.

“He checked at the start, he clipped heels and I dropped him right back. He was still very green throughout,” said Boss.

“He was like a deer caught in the headlights. He had no idea what was happening, especially in the straight.

“But once he got clear, he was very good.”

Burridge said the yard held a high opinion of the Premier Racing Stable-owned latest recruit, but knew they had to give him a bit of time to mature further.

“This horse showed ability from the start but he was also a slow-maturing sort,” said the Australian trainer.

“His first run was good (closing fifth to Eddie Gray in an Open Maiden race over 1200m on May 6). There was not much point riding him differently as he’s the type of horse who gets back and sprints home late.

“We just had to ride him for luck and it’s paid off. He’ll run a mile easy – and it’s good for Wade (son and head of Premier Racing Stable) to have another winner.”

Absolvido (previously named Rip ‘N’ Run) caught the eye of the Premier Racing boss at a barrier trial in Perth.

“He’s a well-trained individual but still very green, but as you could see from tonight’s win, he’s got lengths on this lot,” said Wade Burridge.

“I didn’t know about him until he trialled at Belmont in Perth. I thought he was a nice horse, and he will probably make the grade here.”

Story by Michael Lee