Kiss of lif e
Use-by date just not in his destiny
DESTINY’S Kiss, the racehorse who bucks at retirement, won his second Winter Cup at Rosehill Gardens yesterday — six years after his first.
The remarkable gelding is a rising 11-year-old that not only retains his zest for racing but has maintained form at a very high level.
A veteran of 97 races, Destiny’s Kiss has won 11 feature “cups’’ during his lengthy career, and trainer Joe Pride said there was no reason why the stayer would not be back next year trying to win a third Winter Cup.
“Honestly, Destiny’s Kiss is a long way from being retired,’’ Pride said.
“I’ve got two- and threeyear-olds in my stable a lot closer to retirement than this horse.
“He might be a 10-yearold but he still loves to compete. This was a very special win.
“This was a good field today. It was a lot different from what he was facing in Sydney staying races two or three years ago.
“There were these big, strong imported horses in the field but the little Aussie battler got them.’’
In a finish that had everyone guessing, Destiny’s Kiss ($26), the only Australian-bred stayer in the field, edged out Yogi ($5.50) by a short head, with Mazaz ($31) a head away third.
Hush Writer ($2.45 favourite) raced to the front at the top of the straight but was swamped late to finish sixth.
When Destiny’s Kiss first won the Winter Cup in 2013, he beat dual Group 1 winner Fiumicino. Both stayers are owned by Nick Moraitis of Might And Power fame.
Moraitis wasn’t trackside for Destiny Kiss’s win yesterday but the owner told The Sunday Telegraph by telephone he was continually amazed by the gelding’s longevity.
“I’m very emotional — I can’t stop crying,’’ he said.
“Destiny’s Kiss had the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’s not getting any younger and he still beats them.
“The joy that this horse has given me over the years has been incredible.’’
Destiny’s Kiss scored his 19th win and took his earnings past the $1.5 million barrier.
Star jockey Sam Clipperton was having his first ride on Destiny’s Kiss and took on board a couple of pointers from the gelding’s regular rider, Jay Ford.
“I spoke to Jay and he said the horse will always come off the bit around the 600m but then he will surge again,’’ Clipperton said.
“Jay said ‘don’t give up on him’ so I was mindful of that.
“Even when he did hit that flat spot, he didn’t lose too much ground. He then surged in the straight and, although I wasn’t sure on the line, I can tell you he wasn’t stopping; he kept attacking the line.’’
Pride conceded that he thought Destiny’s Kiss was going to run closer to last than first when he was under pressure from Clipperton well before the home turn.
“Destiny’s Kiss was gone at the 600m, deadset gone, but he just keeps finding something extra,’’ Pride said.
“I thought he had won it over the line then I saw that low shot and I was gutted until his number came up. He is amazing. We won it, we lost it, we won it again.’’
Pride said Destiny’s Kiss is likely to have his next start in the Stayers’ Cup (3200m) at Rosehill on June 29 — a race he won in 2014.
If Destiny’s Kiss remains injury-free and continues to be competitive, he can race for another two seasons before reaching the compulsory retirement age. Under Australian rules of racing, a horse is not allowed to race once it reaches 13 years of age.
The old marvel Destiny’s Kiss wins for Sam Clipperton and (above) trainer Joe Pride with his son, Brave.