Dominant day for Lewis-DaCosta combination
CHAMPION TRAINER Jason DaCosta and jockey Reyan Lewis made up for uncharacteristically quiet back-to-back days of racing last weekend by collectively winning a half of yesterday’s 10-race card.
Lewis booted home his first career five-timer, combing with DaCosta for four of his fistful of winners, including United States-bred IS THAT A FACT, who extended his win streak to four races, beating open-allowance company in the Poorlittlerichgirl Trophy race at seven furlongs.
Sent off as the speculative even-money favourite, IS THAT A FACT left the dreaded one-hole from out the mile chute like a scared hare, quickly clearing the dummy rail as the leader, ahead of fellow American JORDON REIGN’S, last December’s Mouttet Mile second runner-up.
Competing in only his second race in 26 days since returning from an eight-month lay-up out of the Mouttet Mile, JORDON REIGN’S tracked IS THAT A FACT on the far side while last year’s St Leger winner, BLUE VINYL, dangerously stalked the pair from third, bouncing under Javaniel Patterson after his cakewalk victory among overnight-allowance runners 10 days prior.
However, the chasing pair soon met their Waterloo, a deadly injection of pace, three and a half furlongs out, which left JORDON REIGN’S standing while catching BLUE VINYL flat-footed, forcing Patterson to take his mount out of his comfort zone much earlier than he would have desired.
Sensing he caught the field napping, Lewis sent IS THAT A FACT clear into the home stretch while PERFECT BREW made his bid, joining BLUE VINYL and a weakening JORDON REIGN’S coming off the turn.
Straightening three wide, PERFECT BREW briefly appeared as though he would have been the most likely threat to IS THAT A FACT, who, for the first time in four races, was asked a serious question by Lewis approaching the furlong pole.
However, it was BLUE VINYL who produced a late charge inside the last half-furlong, causing Lewis to throw the works at IS THAT A FACT, who responded to left-handed whipping, stepping just off the rail to eyeball his challenger as both riders went at it in a battle to the wire, exchanging words as DaCosta’s runner flashed by the post, winning by a short head.
With his confidence sky high, Lewis, who had earlier opened the programme aboard DaCosta’s PHENOMENAL ONE – making every post a winning one astride the down-in-class three-year-old against $550,000 claimers – returned to run rivals off their legs with the champion trainer’s American, LUKSOL, at five furlongs round in the nightpan among conditional overnight-allowance runners.
Lewis had earlier landed Peter-John Parsard’s money-back favourite, United States-bred GEOLITHIC at a mile in the second event, completing his five-timer with DaCosta’s WAYNE’S PRINCESS, IS THAT A FACT, and LUKSOL.
Champion jockey Dane Dawkins, whose six-race haul from last weekend was nullified by his rival’s response, managed one win, RANI BANGALA in the third, sending him back to the drawing board, 11 behind Lewis’ 82 winners entering this weekend’s Saturday-Sunday meets.