Polytrack specialist Renzo gave trainer Ricardo Le Grange a race day treble after he lowered the colours of hot favourite Lord’s Command in the SG$75,000 Class 3 race on Saturday 30 September.
The Fred Crabbia-owned five-year-old knocked in his third win in a row on the all-weather surface after two consecutive wins in Class 4 races over 1200m on 6 August and 9 September respectively.
While Lord’s Command, who was gunning for his third win in as many starts in Singapore jumped as the $6 favourite, Renzo headed to the start under jockey Vlad Duric at long odds of $103.
Darc Bounty (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin) eventually led the field on settling with Lord’s Command (Manoel Nunes), who was slow away from gate one, on his tail.
Meanwhile, Gold Ten Sixty-One (Ronnie Stewart) and Cosmic Dancer (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) both did it tough three and four wide respectively on the pace.
Upon entering the straight, Nunes peeled Lord’s Command off the heels of Darc Bounty and took control of the race at the 250m, but Duric had followed their every move and Renzo remained to be the only danger to the short-priced favourite in the run to the post.
The challenge was thrown down at the furlong marker and while Lord’s Command was in for the fight, Renzo had his measure by the 100m before going away to win comfortably by three-quarters-of-a-length.
Akhtar (Zyrul Nor Azman) – who was also caught wide in the on-pace battle early before being eased to midfield – ran on well late to fill the minor placing, albeit another two lengths back. The winning time was a slick 58.03secs for the 1000m on the Polytrack.
Le Grange – who earlier saddled Rocketship ($159) to win the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1100m and Maxima ($13) to win the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1600m – was happy to have finally figured out what is best for Renzo on race day.
“I will be honest, until three starts ago, I think we were riding Renzo all wrong,” said a candid Le Grange.
“When he won on 6 August after being held up in the straight, Jockey Bernardo (Pinheiro) said to me that he thought we had been riding him too handy.”
Vlad said the same thing when he won at his next start on 9 September, so the change in tactics has been by default.
“So, I looked at the race programme and thought this Class 3 sprint would suit him as he should get a sit given the expected pace. After drawing gate nine, Vlad said it could work out perfectly – and it did. But that’s easy to say before they jump and Vlad was superb today – both on Renzo and Maxima. Once he found the back of the favourite going into the straight, I was pretty confident with Renzo.”
“A peach of a ride, but you’d expect that from Vlad.”
The four-time Singapore champion jockey was happy that things went to plan on settling.
“It worked out well,” said an understated Duric. “I said to Ricky that we should get a spot if they went quick and they did. Sometimes, it falls into your lap and that’s what happened today.”
“When I tracked the favourite, Lord’s Command, into the straight and Nunes started feeling for his horse, I was pretty sure we could run him down. He needed a bunny and he had one today.
“I wanted to ride Renzo in the early days – I was probably too fat – but it’s good to see him winning races as he has plenty of ability.”
Of the win on Maxima earlier in the day, the Australian jockey thought the son of Ivawood has plenty more to offer.
“He carried weight (58.5kgs), but he’s better than Class 4,” said Duric of the German-bred six-year-old. “I thought he did it easy today and his form from Hong Kong will stand up in better company here. If he wins at his next start, maybe he’s a sneaky chance in a race like the Gr1 Singapore Gold Cup with no weight.”
Held on 11 November, the Singapore Gold Cup is the third Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown series. The Gr1 Raffles Cup was won by Lim’s Kosciuszko last Sunday while the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup will be run on 14 October.
Of the treble, Le Grange also praised his hardworking staff.
“The treble was a very good result for the stable,” said the South African handler. I have to thank my apprentice Jockey Rozlan (Nazam) who did a lot of the riding in the mornings, and to the girls at my stable – they know who they are – they did a great job.”
Renzo’s sixth win from 28 starts took the Argentinean-bred’s earnings to close to SG$280,000 for connections.