By Ray Hickson
You have to marvel at the seemingly ageless stayer Destiny’s Kiss and jockey Jay Ford certainly does.
While he lacks the size of the average racehorse the Joe Pride-trained gelding makes up for it with talent and sheer staying ability.
That’s why Ford isn’t so concerned about Destiny’s Kiss carrying 61kg as he attempts to win his second Stayer’s Cup (3200m) at Randwick on Saturday, four years after his first.
“He’s a real gentleman, he’s only a little fellow but he has a heart of gold,’’ Ford said.
“Joe knows these sorts of races are what he’s for so he really targets them and Joe’s got him in a good frame of mind.
“Obviously he’s a nine-year-old but he’s not feeling it the way he’s racing.’’
Placement has been key to both the success and longevity of Destiny’s Kiss, who’ll have his 84th start on Saturday and has earned just under $1.4 million.
Since his 2014 Stayer’s Cup win with 59kg, also on a heavy track, the gelding has won eight Listed races and placed in another five so only rising 2kg seems luxurious.
He still has to carry the 61kg while conceding 8kg to all his rivals but Ford knows better than to doubt him.
“He’s only a little horse but he’s a very good weight carrier and he’s shown that over the last few seasons,’’ he said.
“Over 3200m it’s a little different but I know I’m on the superior horse in the field. Although he has to give them 8kg he gets the wet track which is a big plus for him.
“It’s not an easy task by any means but you’ve got to have the horse capable of doing it. He’s shown numerous times that he’s a real iron horse.’’
With one third of his 18 wins coming on heavy tracks, it’s no surprise TAB installed Destiny’s Kiss the $3 favourite for the Stayer’s Cup.
Punters Intel can illustrate just how well Destiny’s Kiss is racing by looking at his last start win in the McKell Cup (2400m) at Randwick.
Not only did the horse run the fastest last 600m (35.08), he covered more ground than any other runner (+13.6m) and produced a couple of sub 12 second sectionals as Ford took off on him 1000m out.
Destiny's Kiss takes out the McKell Cup at Randwick on May 26
“It was something I decided to do, after we’d gone 800m the leaders fairly controlled it up front,’’ he said.
“Knowing my two main dangers were outside the leader and one-one and I’ve got to concede them up to 6kg to give myself a chance I’d have to be somewhere near them on the bend.
“Usually he tends to hit a bit of a flat spot and I didn’t want them to quicken and drop him.’’
A few comments from Jay Ford on some of his other rides at Randwick:
Solo Mission (race 4, $6.50): “He won very impressively three back and he wasn’t too far away from them the other day. He has a bit of wet form but not on heavy ground so that’s a bit of a question mark.’’
Monasterio (race 5, $9): “He looked like he had plenty to offer last week and didn’t have a lot of room. He’s not real proven on a wet track but he's obviously come back in good form.’’
Passage Of Time (race 9, $17): “He loves the wet. He’s been around the mark and is the sort of horse that could improve. He’s unbeaten on a heavy track and is one that could jump out of the ground.