It’s An Ace In The Hand For Queiroz

Kranji on Saturday

After nine months of riding at his first overseas venture in Singapore, young Brazilian jockey Bruno Queiroz landed his first Group win aboard Ace Of Diamonds in the SG$110,000 Gr3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint at Kranji on Saturday.

Ace Of Diamonds (Bruno Queiroz) holds off Artillery (Vitor Espindola) to take out the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (Pic – STC)

Queiroz had also saluted four races earlier on Lim’s Smythe in the SG$50,000 Be Bee 2018 Stakes, a Class 4 race over 1600m, bringing his current season tally to 26 wins, two more than fellow Brailian jockey and the second-placed Manoel Nunes, who went home empty-handed.

That long-awaited Group win achievement, however, could not have been done without the promising three-year-old, Ace Of Diamonds.

The Ricardo Le Grange-trained gelding was the top-rated horse at 67 points in the nine-horse field and fittingly started as the SG$14 favourite. After jumping well from barrier eight, Queiroz had to take his medicine while Mission Five (Jaden Lloyd) led and had Pacific Commander (Koh Teck Huat) for company. Ace of Diamonds was caught four wide with no cover in midfield.

The son of Swiss Ace also overraced mid-race but after being given some rein by Queiroz, he found himself travelling nicely, albeit five wide, yet still not far off from the leaders.

With the second favourite, Bakeel (Nunes) on his tail in the straight, there was still plenty of work to do but when Queiroz levelled up with the leading pack at the 350m, Ace Of Diamonds looked to be doing it easy before hitting the afterburners at the 300m to put the race beyond doubt in a matter of strides.

Although he wandered about slightly in the last furlong, Ace Of Diamonds still had them all covered a long way from home, eventually winning by a length from the Donna Logan-trained Artillery (Vitor Espindola), who ran on strongly in second.

Bakeel also ran on well to fill the placings only a head away in third while Last Supper (Ryan Curatolo) was in the black book another head away in fourth.

The winning time was 1 min 9.57secs for the 1200m on the Short Course. Ace Of Diamonds’ fourth win from nine starts took his prizemoney to over SG$200,000 for owner Leonardo Javier.

Queiroz was overjoyed with his first Group win in Singapore and reckoned Ace Of Diamonds will improve further in the Gr2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1400m) and the Gr2 Singapore Guineas (1600m), which will be run on 27 April and 18 May respectively.

“I’m very happy as I didn’t have a Group win in Singapore and today was perfect,” said the humble hoop, whose spoken English has improved from when he first stepped foot in Singapore.

“The horse was very well. A good job by Ricardo and the stable.

“He was alone at the last 200m and he watched (looked around), so I picked up the whip and he picked up and finished well.

“I think the longer distance races will be better for him.”

Queiroz also thanked his family – including his godfather and four-time Singapore champion jockey Joao Moreira – in his native Portuguese language on the television interview after the race.

Jockey Bruno Queiroz (left) celebrates his first Group win in Singapore with trainer Ricardo Le Grange (Pic – STC)

Meanwhile, Le Grange, who has been a big supporter of Queiroz’s, was confident before the race and praised Ace Of Diamonds for overcoming the wide gate and tough run to win.

“Ace Of Diamond is probably as good as I thought he is,” said Le Grange to racing presenter Scott Bailey after the race.

“He did it a bit tough today. The draw was not ideal and racing wide on the ‘C’ Course made it really tough.

“I brought him back from the 1400m (in a Class 3 race at his last start), so I had to freshen him up and put some speed into his legs.

“So, I thought he would be a bit strong today, which he was. I think both the 3YO Classic and Guineas will be well within his reach.

“We will just keep training him now as per normal, keep him safe and out of harm’s way.

“To Sandy (Leonardo) and Karen (Javier), he’s a really smart horse and they deserved it. They are great patrons of the game. I’m just very happy.”

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