Kiss of lif e

Use-by date just not in his des­tiny

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - RACING -

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.

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