Lady Of The Light's win is what "racing is all about"
By Michael Guerin
Jeremy Young never stopped believing in Lady Of The Light.
Not when she went nine starts without winning a race last year.
Not when she was beaten by Aardie’s Express in the Breeders Stakes a week ago.
Not even when she drew the outside of the front line in the $110,000 Woodlands Stud Queen Of Hearts last Monday.
And as it turns out, Young was right.
His big, beautiful stable star turned a bad draw into good by using it as the surprise factor in the Alexandra Park Group 1 on Friday night, driver Maurice McKendry launching the mare to cross polemarker Manhattan.
McKendry kept the speed on just enough on the Lady Of The Light before she rolled home her last 800m in 55.7 seconds to beat the late surging Lifes A Beach, with Manhattan third after trailing and not pacing cleanly on the last bend.
The shock of the race was Aardie’s Express fading to finish eighth after having the one-one, a run well below her best.
While that was a surprise to punters, Lady Of The Light’s win wasn’t to her Pukekohe trainer Young.
“She is a very good mare and we decided at lunch time today to have a crack early,” says Young.
“She is so genuine and loves being in front because she is a great stayer.”
Young says while this rates alongside Best Western’s win for him in the Great Northern Oaks, it was even more emotional because of the large group of owners.
“They are a great bunch,” said Young as the owners serenaded him with a There-Is-Only-One-Jeremy-Young chant.
It was a scene rarely seen in the Alexandra Park stabling area and Young summed it up well.
“This is what racing is all about, we could do with more of this at Alexandra Park.”
Young says while he thinks Lady Of The Light can eventually become a New Zealand Cup horse his main aim for now will be the big Addington mares’ races, including the Group 1 NZ Breeders Stakes she finished second in earlier this year.
Her win was matched for merit earlier in the night by trotter Dream Of You, who returned with a super win in the $50,000 Thames Members Handicap Trot.
In his first start since July 28 he blasted past Dominion placegetter Resolve, trotting his last 800m in 57.1 seconds in a huge effort considering trainer Derek Balle thought he might need a run.
Dream Of You has matured into a near foolproof trotter and as only a four-year-old he could be around in the top grade for a few seasons.
The other highlight of the night was Miki Shan winning the Thames Goldfields Summer Cup, leading throughout to win the standing start contest for trainer Maurice McKendry, giving him the feature pacing race double.