TWO CENTURIES FIT FOR A KING -BY MICHAEL LEE
Two centuries fit for a KingMichael Lee21/10/2018
Kranji trainers Ricardo Le Grange and James Peters hit the century of winners within a race of each other on Sunday – remarkably in “majestic” style as well.
South African-born Le Grange achieved the milestone first with King Louis in the $100,000 The British Club Gallop, a Class 2 race over 1800m, before he was joined by his English colleague in the next race, the $60,000 Better Life 2013 Stakes, a Class 4 Premier race over 1200m with by coincidence, another “King” – King Of War.
Both trainers expressed their gratitude to the support from owners for being the main driving force behind their success.
King Louis (Glen Boss) emerges from a close go with Sky Rocket (Vlad Duric) to take out
The British Club Gallop.
“There has been some talk about this century of winners from so many people, but it was all in good faith,” said Le Grange who began operations in December 2016.
“I have to thank a lot of people, firstly my mum and dad who watch every single race I’m in no matter what. My brother, who lives in England, is also a huge supporter and helps with my website.
“Then I have to thank Pat Shaw who has given me the opportunity to get into this position.”
Peters, who just like Le Grange, was assistant-trainer at Kranji (to Michael Freedman) before he branched out into his own in April 2016, was just as thankful for reaching that significant landmark.
“I’ve had good support from a number of people, and I’m so happy the 100th winner came from the China Horse Club,” said Peters who has certainly come a long way at Kranji after beginning as a senior track rider for Freedman in 2010.
“They have been my biggest supporter and have given me a lot more winners, probably around 40 of them.”
While the 100th winner was a cause for celebration in itself, Le Grange was looking forward to an even more momentous occasion in three weeks’ time.
King Louis has certainly earned his ticket to the $1.35 million Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2000m), the third and final Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown series on November 11.
“He’s a very smart horse, but I have to admit to some anxious moments at the top of the straight,” said Le Grange in allusion to King Louis’ rearward spot buried away on the rails upon cornering while Makanani (Olivier Placais) was bidding for an all-the-way win upfront.
“But he showed a lot of guts and determination. It can always go wrong when you come through on the inside, but Glen Boss rides with so much confidence.
“It would have been a hard-luck story if it had gone the other way, but I’m glad the horse has won.
“That will bring him on nicely for the Gold Cup.”
King Of War (Daniel Moor) comes out tops in Race 6.
Boss, who rode the Medaglia d’Oro four-year-old to victory in the Group 3 El Dorado Classic (2000m) at his last start, could not wait for the big race – which he won as a short-term visiting jockey on Risky Business in 2010.
“It was not the plan to be so far back. But as there were so many horses who would get in my way, I had to ride him off the speed,” said the Australian hoop.
“I rode him like he was the best horse – and he was the best horse in the race – knowing he’s got the turn of speed to get the job done.
“He actually missed a trial when it rained, but Ricardo has taken it easy with him. Hopefully, he can get into the Gold Cup with no weight.”
Backed down to $15 favouritism, King Louis left it late to poke his head in front at the wire, just blousing out the fast-closing Sky Rocket (Vlad Duric) with King Louis’ stablemate Mighty Kenny (Nooresh Juglall) third another head away. The winning time was 1min 47.21secs for the 1800m on the Long Course.
With that fourth win, King Louis sees his stakes earnings exceed the half-a-million mark for Steve Levar’s Royalty Stable.
As for King Of War ($76), a five-year-old by Exceed And Excel, that third win from 20 starts has taken his prizemoney level to around the $135,000 mark for the China Horse Club.
It was also a close three-way battle inside the last 100 yards with King Of War prevailing by a head from the fast-finishing Lim’s Reform (Troy See) with Glasgow (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) third another half-a-length away. The winning time was 1min 10.38secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.