River Radiance brightens up Mok’s night

River Radiance (Marc Lerner) outsprints his rivals to claim the Class 3 race on Friday night. PhotoL STC

The vastly-improved River Radiance (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) came with a sizzling turn of foot to roll Altair (Zoustar), the hotpot of the night, on Friday.

Following an impressive two-from-two at Kranji, not many had dared tip against Altair, Mark Walker’s former Chris Waller-trained one-time Sydney winner in the $70,000 Class 3 race over 1200m, but after riding shotgun outside leader Unconquered (I Am Invincible), the odds-on favourite’s turn of foot was devoid of the same bite when jockey Benny Woodworth called upon the tools of the trade.

In his big white earmuffs, River Radiance, who was rising in class after last saluting in Class 4 company two months ago, was moving with greater purpose on the outside.

Beaten fair and square at the 200m, Altair was unable to muster a response as the four-year-old bounded clear, battling away for second place just over two lengths astern, holding off Super Fortune (Mossman) by three parts of a length in third place.

Running the 1200m on the Polytrack in 1min 10.51secs, River Radiance has now set up a handy record of three wins and two seconds from five starts for stakes earnings closing in on the S$130,000 mark for his Macau-based owner Mr Ho Pui Kim.

By far Mok Zhan Lun’s brightest spark in his small team of 24 horses, River Radiance was handing the Singaporean trainer his second win for the night to get into double digits for the 2019 season.

“It’s been a great night,” said the soft-spoken handler.

“River Radiance was up in class and I thought Altair would be hard to beat, but he was in good form.

“The key to him is to keep him relaxed behind the leaders. Marc rode him well and in the straight, he showed an explosive finish.”

French jockey Marc Lerner keept up his hot streak with a riding double.

He remains in fifth place on 33 winners, but is only three winners behind John Powell, who, however, returns from a three-day suspension for careless riding on Sunday.

“Things are going well for me, hope it stays that way,” said Lerner who gets back on his Raffles Cup winner Makanani in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m) on Sunday.

“I was very happy when Mok rang me for the ride on River Radiance. With a record of 2-1-2-1, he was obviously a very good chance.

“When I was told he had 54kgs, I knew I would have a tough week wasting down to that weight, but it was well worth it.

“I went in hoping for a good run and we had a good cart behind Altair right through. At the top of the straight, I knew the rest were done for.

“He’s a very promising horse.”

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