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Spectacular finish from Othello
Michael Lee

Punters were blown out of the water when $170 longshot Othello flew home from nowhere to land the $95,000 Lim’s Classic 2006 Stakes Kranji Stakes B race over 1200m on Sunday.

Not only was the unheralded former Australian galloper from trainer David Hill’s yard friendless in the market, but none of the better fancies finished in the money either.

Favourite ($20) Masthead (Joao Moreira) raced handy throughout but weakened out of it inside the last furlong to run sixth while ($24) Shuttle Man (Stephen Baster), who was at his comeback run, was never a factor despite jumping from the inside alley to beat one home.

Othello (Alan Munro) charges home from the tail of the field to win Race 6 on Sunday.

The other unexpected results were the forward runs from two of the three Malaysian gallopers who had crossed the border in search of the riches down South. The Jerome Tan-trained Beagle (Tengku Rehaizat) and the Bonny Ng-trained Happy Realm (Jose de Souza) ran second and third respectively to be part of a trifecta that not many would have guessed before the race.

While it is never easy to predict how the form of Malaysian-based gallopers will stack up against their Singapore counterparts, such competitive performances can only augur well for more cross-border raids in the future.

Completing the quartet was $51 shot Cash Dot Com (Jose Verenzuela) for a combination that nobody had marked as the quartet pool was then jackpotted to the next race.

But all honours to the winner who according to his trainer is not a bad sort and relished the sting out of the ground on Sunday.

“He’s a very nice horse, but I thought he was probably not 100% fit for today’s race,” said the British conditioner.

“But he had good form on soft track back in Australia and it didn’t surprise me he flew home in the last bit.

“From the wide draw, I told Alan (Munro) to snag him back at the rear and ride him quiet, and get him to the outside in the home straight. It worked out perfectly.

“He cost a fair bit as a yearling – A$1.9 million – and raced in pretty good company back in Australia. I don’t have anything major planned for him, maybe step him up to the mile one day.”

After being slow out of the gates, Othello, a six-year-old by Encosta De Lago and a veteran of 21 Australian starts including three wins between 1200m and 1600m, looked to have the task ahead when seen spotting the leaders around 10 lengths upon straightening.

But once Munro got his mount all switched on, he started working home at the rate of knots, pulling stacks of ground on the leaders in the last 300m. Happy Realm and Beagle looked all poised to give Malaysia a memorable quinella, but Othello finished over the top of them to score by one length from Beagle with Happy Realm third another three parts of a length away. The winning time was 1min 12.21secs.

Munro, who was at the double having earlier scored aboard the Hideyuki Takaoka-trained Kaiser Bright, admitted to having lost all hope at the 400m.

“There was no pace early. He was not really going anywhere at the 600m and I thought he was gone,” said Munro.

“But when I pushed him out in the straight, he suddenly found his gears and he just went whoosh.

“He’s a very nice horse. It was a tough field today and it was a bit of a surprise really.

“He was a bit of an unknown against some quality horses. He’s done a good job in the end.”

Othello is raced by one of the most prestigious names to have raced horses on the local circuit, the Ace-In-The-Hole Stable.