Murray finds the line with another outsider

South African jockey Callan Murray combined with trainer Michael Clements to spring a $151 upset with Raheeb in the $75,000 Novice race over 1200m on Sunday.

Raheeb winning the NOVICE
Raheeb winning the NOVICE Picture: Singapore Turf Club

It’s fair to say that the former South African champion apprentice jockey has not been jumping on many leading chances since he began his 10-month Singapore stint on March 1.

Up to now, the 23-year-old had notched up only one winner, another longshot, Ganassi, two days after his Kranji debut, but it’s been a long wait since.

Murray did not quite make Raheeb a good thing to end the lean spell, but having sat once on the Ocean Park four-year-old in a barrier trial, he had a gut-feel he would not be beaten out of his ground either.

He certainly went in with a positive frame of mind, bouncing his mount out to park outside pacesetter Federation (Glen Boss) from the start before taking it up the straight once they swung for the judge.

A horse who did show ability from five runs at Kranji, winning a Restricted Maiden race over 1200m last November when then prepared by Saimee Jumaat, Raheeb did not shirk the task when Murray called on him at the 400m.

In a few strides, he shot past Federation, putting three lengths on the chasing pack for what looked like a decisive move.

Favourite Mo Almighty (Michael Rodd) was clearly run off his feet while Implement (John Powell) was not making much of an indent into the margin. Axel (Benny Woodworth) finished the best of the rest to close the gap down to two and three-quarter lengths, beating Mo Almighty for second place by a head.

The winning time was 1min 11.46secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.

“It’s good to be back a winner. It’s been a long time between two beers,” said Murray.

“That horse trialled very good the other day, but we thought he might still need the run.

“I was able to tackle the frontrunner 500m out, and he showed he had plenty of ability with the way he quickened away.

“I’m also glad to get a winner for the team back home.”

Clements, who has had Raheeb for only three runs, said that the Al-Arabiya Stable-owned gelding was not without his issues, but when things go right for him, he is hard to run down.

“He came back with a low white blood cell count after he ran poorly at his last run,” said Clements.

“He’s a horse who showed ability early as he did win one race earlier. He also had an injury, went out and came to us.

“At his first run for us he ran okay and then he was wide at his second run. He’s got a bit of speed and that suits Polytrack races.

“He is an on-speed horse. Callan rode him well, was able to give him a breather round the bend, he gave him every chance.”

With that second win from six starts, Raheeb has now taken in close to $95,000 in stakes money for the Al-Arabiya Stable.

Singapore Turf Club