Real Impact goes close in thrilling Doncaster Mile
Top class racing continues in Australia, although there was a hiccup on Saturday when stewards had to postpone Day 1 of The Championships at 9.30 am due to heavy rain and subsequent dangerous conditions at Royal Randwick. The big logistical carryover to Monday made it hard for a number of reasons: horses were scratched, reinstated, and then scratched again; trainers had to reassess their plans; and jockeys were on hold to secure their best possible rides.
In the end, the four Group 1 card got under way on Monday on a heavy turf course, and Japan’s racing fraternity was all focused on the chances of Real Impact and World Ace in the A$3 million The Star (150th) Doncaster Mile. The resurgence in form of the 7-year-old Real Impact, coming off a courageous win in the George Ryder Stakes last month, and World Ace’s 11th place finish in the same race, gave hope of a Japanese victory as the two did battle again in a competitive field of twenty runners.
Real Impact’s jockey, James McDonald, sounded a warning before the race when he commented, “He’s dropping 4kgs in weight from his last start, he won’t even know I’m on his back, he’s that big and strong.” World Ace could be considered slightly unlucky in the George Ryder with the race not being run to suit him. In the Doncaster Mile, World Ace started from barrier 13, while Real Impact drew gate 18.
As the runners were sent on their way, Leebaz missed the break, but the rest of the field got away well, and Ninth Legion and Hooked were the first two to go on, with Real Impact quick to take up a position just behind these two leaders in third. World Ace settled for a spot on the outside about mid-division or slightly worse. The eventual winner, Kermadec, was also settled well back under jockey Glen Boss. As the two early leaders capitulated, Real Impact was told to go as the field turned for home, and the response was such that an historic Group 1 double looked a distinct possibility. World Ace started his move too, but needed to make up more ground from his outside position. With about 150 yards to go, Kermadec, had threaded himself through all sorts of tight spaces to go on and claim victory, leaving Real Impact to settle for second, while wet track specialists Royal Descent and Rudy finished third and fourth respectively.
It was the experience of numbers, perhaps, that made the difference, with jockey Glen Boss winning the race for the sixth time. He said, “I’m really lost for words. This one is probably my special one. He (Kermadec) is very brave and we were pushing through gaps. He was brave enough to do it for me.” Trainer Chris Waller was winning the race for the fifth time and praised the winner. “He’s a Group 1 horse and he proved that today. He’s got a bright future ahead.”
James McDonald, so close to pulling off a memorable win, said of Real Impact: “He went super, he’s an awesome horse to ride.” Trainer Noriyuki Hori was also pleased with Real Impact’s effort, saying, “He had no problems with the distance, and we were probably beaten by the ground. I was happy with the result and his preparation going into the race was fine.” Nicholas Hall, the jockey of World Ace, commented, “He went much better today, probably needs further and maybe needs to be up with the pace more.”
The race was run in a time of 1 minute 37.61 seconds, and the distances were 1 3/4 lengths and a head.
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