Mok Zhan Lun seldom makes the headlines, but the soft-spoken trainer was for once basking in the limelight on Friday night after he brought up his 200th winner with New Zealand-bred gelding River Radiance.
A former Singapore Training Academy for Racing (STAR) graduate, Mok saddled his first winner Famous Than You on March 26, 2010.
While it’s been a long and sometimes grueling journey to reach that milestone, the Singaporean handler was delighted it was behind him and he could now aim for other targets.
“I hope I can achieve more after tonight,” said the former Foreign Exchange banker.
“I gave this horse a pretty good chance. It all depended on luck.
“He had the best jockey (Michael Rodd) on him. Michael told me after his trial that he was pretty confident the horse was in a good shape.
“Tonight, I left it to Michael to ride him the way he wanted. There is no definite position he has to be in.”
Mok was given a champagne bottle of Moet by Association of Racehorse Trainers Singapore (ARTS) operations manager Debbie Hawkins for his well-earned achievement.
A three-year-old by Rip Van Winkle who was sold as yearling through Seaton Park's 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock draft, River Radiance ran an eye-catching second to Surpass Natural on debut in a Restricted Maiden race over 1000m.
In a change of tactics, Rodd took him straight to the head of affairs from Golden Kid (John Sundradas) and Gamely (Joseph Azzopardi) in the S$75,000 Lim’s Racer 2016 Stakes, a Restricted Maiden-1 race over 1100m.
Always travelling on the bit, River Radiance never gave his connections any anxious moments from that point onwards, even if Gamely did issue a decent challenge inside the last furlong, but that elusive maiden win for the Donna Logan-trained three-year-old will again have to wait another day.
The Macau-owned River Radiance never showed any signs of letting up as he strolled in by three lengths from Gamely (his 10th placing from 16 starts) with Golden Kid third another 1 ½ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 4.8secs for the 1100m on the Polytrack.
Rodd, who was at the third pin of an early treble after saluting earlier aboard Bluestone and Boy Next Door, said he could not be too cocky about his winning chances on Friday night even if he knew he had a good book of rides.
“I couldn’t be too confident. Bluestone is only a two-year-old and was at his first run and Boy Next Door won by staying on the inside when he usually comes around horses,” said the in-form Australian jockey.
“River Radiance was probably my best chance. I went forward just to keep him out of trouble.
“He’s a nice horse, even if he can be a bit unsound, but he won a nice race tonight.”
In two starts, River Radiance has already picked up prize cheques worth around S$55,000 for Mr Ho Pui Kim. -STC