Top South African miler Noah From Goa sent an ominous warning he would be a tough nut to crack in next week’s SGD$1 million Gr1 Raffles Cup (1600m) with a rousing barrier trial win on Tuesday.
Michael Lee reports on the Singapore Turf Club website that the six-year-old son of Tiger Ridge responded brilliantly to his regular partner Nooresh Juglall’s urgings inside the last 200m with a short brisk sprint to beat stablemate Rafaello (Barend Vorster) by half-a-length.
Clarton Super (Benny Woodworth), one of his rivals in the Raffles Cup, which now kicks off the Singapore Triple Crown series (used to be the second Leg), ran third another three parts of a length away.
“I’m very happy with the trial,” said trainer Ricardo Le Grange.
“He hit the line very well and looks ready for the Raffles Cup next Sunday (September 23).”
Noah From Goa is a South African Gr1 winner of the Cape Guineas (1600m) in 2015 when then prepared by champion trainer Mike de Kock, and also raced with distinction in Dubai, but was a flop at his Singapore debut on July 6 in a Kranji Stakes A race over 1200m which was in hindsight too short for him.
The Mary Slack-owned chestnut, however, made quick amends with a resounding win in another Kranji Stakes A race five weeks later, but this time over a more appropriate trip of 1800m, which he was actually attempting for the first time, but which was clearly more up his street than six furlongs.
It is with those distance parameters in mind that Le Grange, who also saddles old stalwart Majestic Moments (Barend Vorster) in the Raffles Cup, is tackling the Singapore Triple Crown series with Noah From Goa. The first two Legs should not present any problem, but the last one is still uncharted waters.
“My plan is to run him in the Raffles Cup, and then the QEII Cup (Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup over 1800m on October 21),” said Le Grange who won his first Group 1 race with the late Quechua in the QEII Cup last year.
“We’ll see if he can go further than that as he’s never gone further than 1800m. In South Africa and Dubai, he’s actually never run beyond the mile.
“So, for the Gold Cup (2000m), we’ll have to see how he goes. We’ll take it race by race, but the plan is to hopefully get to the Gold Cup.”
The third Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown series is the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) which will be run on November 11. As assistant-trainer to Patrick Shaw, Le Grange was a key player in three Singapore Gold Cup wins – Mr Line (2006), Quechua (2014) and Cooptado (2015).
Juglall, who has long held Noah From Goa in high esteem, was in an upbeat mood after he unsaddled his mount on Tuesday.
“That was a very good trial. I was very happy with that, he sure is going in the right direction,” said the Mauritian jockey who just returned to competition from two consecutive two-day suspensions for careless riding (Big Wave and Silver Joy) which he actually served back in his hometown while welcoming the arrival of his first child, baby boy Aryan.
“If the horse stays sound, we will have a good race in the Raffles Cup. The horse has actually grown in confidence since his last win.
“To me, he’s improved from his last run. This will probably be his toughest test, but he’s a classy horse and I have every confidence he’ll show us what he is capable of doing on the day, and hopefully, he can win the race.”