Le Grange’s Kranji 1-2

SA-born trainer maintains stable form in 2022 opener

An early midrace move proved to be decisive for Ricardo Le Grange’s lightweight chance Leatherhead in the SG$70,000 Class 3 race over the Kranji Polytrack mile on Sunday. This was the first Singapore racemeeting of 2022.

Shouldering only 51kgs on his back, the Helmet six-year-old improved noticeably three wide in the small eight-horse field as jockey Zyrul Nor Azman got on his bike after the half-mile mark was put astern.

Leatherhead (Zyrul Nor Azman, No 8) races past stablemate Pennywise (A’Isisuhairi Kasim, blinkered) to claim the Class 3 race (Pic – STC)

Favourite Real Efecto (Danny Beasley) was on the other hand back in amongst runners and by the time he saw daylight, Leatherhead who was in receipt of 5.5kgs from him, had already flown.

Topweight Pennywise (A’Isisuhairi Kasim), who drew first blood upon cornering, was being hailed the winner for most of the home straight, but his featherweight stablemate Leatherhead (to whom Pennywise gave away nine kilos) finished a touch better to score by half-a-length for the Le Grange forecast (quinella).

Real Efecto got a little caught on the backfoot but when he found clear air, he worked home nicely, but couldn’t pass the two Le Grange horses to settle for third place a nose away.

On the other hand, Le Grange’s better fancied third of his trio of runners, Senor Don (Oscar Chavez) had every chance in the box-seat behind race-leader Super Dynasty (Mark Ewe), but could not muster when the chips were down. He ran seventh ahead of only the badly-compounded Super Dynasty.

Sent out at lukewarm odds of SG$57, Leatherhead clocked the 1600m on Polytrack in 1min 39.23secs to take his record to five wins and six placings from 33 starts for close to SG$210,000 in stakes earnings to Filipino owner Paolo Mendoza.

Le Grange said he only gave Zyrul the broad lines of the tactics to adopt but it was left to the Singaporean jockey to make the call when to step on the gas.

“I told Zy this horse needs to get going early, he’s a momentum horse, but it all depends on the speed when to time his run,” said the South African handler.

“I said around 600m to 400m and just let him come home. Zy is a nice young rider, I’ve given him horses a couple of times and he’s ridden Leatherhead perfectly.

“Many thanks to Paolo who has been a good supporter of mine for a long time. Pennywise was gallant in defeat, and it was good to get the monkey off the back early.”

Le Grange has not plotted any ambitious plans for Leatherhead other than just taking it race by race as the season wears on.

“Now that he’s got the confidence up after that win, I’ll find another Class 3 race on Polytrack for him,” he said

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