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Takaoka-Lerner team gathers further momentum
Michael Lee

The new Hideyuki Takaoka-Marc Lerner association gained further traction after they combined for their third success together with Across The Sea on Sunday.


After enjoying a perfect chemistry with Olivier Placais last year, the Japanese trainer seems to have now hit it off with another French rider in 2019. Before Across The Sea, Carnelian and In Bocca Al Lupo were the first to seal the budding partnership with one win apiece.


The early signs of a link-up actually surfaced last year when Lerner, who moved from Germany to Kranji in September, had In Bocca Al Lupo among his two 2018 winners. 

Across The Sea (Marc Lerner) pulls away from the pack in the RDA Cup.

Raced by In Bocca Al Lupo’s Big Valley Stable as well, Across The Sea ($41) was given a peach of a ride from Lerner in the $70,000 RDA Cup 2019, a Kranji Stakes C race over 1600m which had garnered only eight runners.


After a decent start, the Japanese-bred seven-year-old by Black Tide looked well within himself as he took up a one-out one-back position about three lengths off the leader Panache (Iskandar Rosman). He did seem to be plodding on the one spot going around the second turn, but hard ridden by Lerner, he eventually let down with a sizzling turn of foot inside the last 300m.


Mighty Emperor (Barend Vorster) ran second 1 ½ lengths away with Reddot Rising (Yusoff Fadzli) third another three parts of a length away. The winning time was 1min 39.8secs for the Polytrack mile.


Takaoka was obviously glad he had found an able pair of hands for his yard, even if to him, Lerner has taken a while to get his head wrapped around Singapore racing.


“Marc’s improving. He needed the experience with Singapore racing,” he said.


“He’s getting better and I’m very happy for him. I’m also very happy with the good start I’ve made in 2019.”


Besides the three wins with Lerner, Takaoka also won with Higher Soul ridden by in-form apprentice jockey Wong Chin Chuen, who incidentally rode a race-to-race double on Sunday – Storm To Win ($56) in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1400m and Centurion ($17) in the $38,000 Kranji Stakes D race over 1600m.


Lerner said he actually thought he was not travelling well enough coming off the back to finish at the right end of the race, but Across The Sea luckily got back on the bit when it mattered.


“The plan was to follow Panache as he’s got pace and he had an apprentice jockey on his back. I felt he would take me far into the race,” said Lerner.


“But round the bend, I thought my horse was flat and not moving as well as I would have liked. I had to do some hard pushing to get him going again.


“I kept the stick in the left hand and he finally showed a good turn of foot in the last 300m. He’s not very honest as he can switch off when he is all by himself upfront, you’ve got to time his run so he is in front only once.”


The modest rider was again playing down his input when asked about his current healthier start to 2019 compared to his laboured start last year. To him, he just needs to get his bum on more quick ones than slow ones.


“I have the chance to get on some good chances,” he said.


“I’m just lucky to get on good horses. I don’t have much to do.”


Lerner is currently tied with reigning champion jockey Vlad Duric and Michael Rodd on four winners, three behind leader Noh Senari, who continued his outstanding start to the season with a seventh win from the Leslie Khoo-trained Wonderful Paint ($22) in the $50,000 ANZA Derby 2019, a Class 4 race over 1800m.