After more than two years without saluting, trainer Ricardo Le Grange’s old stalwart Mighty Kenny led his rivals a merry dance to bounce back to winning ways in the SG$50,000 Class 4 race over 2000m at Kranji on Friday night.
Already at his sixth season at Kranji, the Shinzig seven-year-old was also posting his first win under the Chelsea Stable banner after carrying Mark and Emily Yong’s Tmen Stable to his previous eight wins, four of them coming under Le Grange’s former boss Patrick Shaw’s guidance.
No doubt, that latest success was carved out in a small six-horse field and off a soft lead under the silky hands of Michael Rodd, but the 3-1 chance still had to dig down deep when the challenges were issued left, right and centre in the home straight.
After a cushy trip on the fence, favourite Middle Kingdom came with a bold attempt to wear him down from the 300m, but those cheap sectionals in front were always going to make the task a tall order.
Two-and-a-quarter lengths for the winning margin told the story how the rest were caught napping. Shangani (Juan Paul van der Merwe) and Billy Britain (Benny Woodworth) closed in with the best last 600m, but they were well outsprinted into third and fourth places, 1 ½ and 1 ¾ lengths away respectively.
The winning time was 2min 3.29secs for the 2000m on the Short Course.
Le Grange described his old warrior as a “battle axe”, undoubtedly in a more literal sense of the term.
“This horse has been with us for five and a half years and he’s been a bit of a battle axe. He’s still got a fight left in him,” said the South African handler.
“Michael gave him a masterclass of a ride in front. A big thank you to the Yong family who took over him after Mark came out of the game.”
Rodd, who was at riding double after getting on the board with Cavalla Court in Race 2, said a peaceful lead in front was the recipe to the all-the-way victory.
“He was stiff the other day. He had a wide barrier and was caught three wide,” said the Australian hoop.
“The winner (Luck Of Master) had a nice suck-up behind us and got us late. I was confident tonight, as he’s got class.
“Vlad (Duric) said the other day I’m a patient rider, but sometimes it can cost me a race. It can be very frustrating as (main supporter) Cliff (Brown) and I plan the horses for the long term to get there.
“But it’s worked out well for this one.”
With that ninth win in 64 starts, boosted by minor prizemoney earned from eight seconds and four thirds, Mighty Kenny has now seen his earnings reach just shy of the half-a-million dollar mark.
Le Grange is in fine form and has now moved into the top five of the premiership.
- Singapore Turf Club