Le Grange Tops Kranji Log

Crabbia silks to the fore

The Ricardo Le Grange yard was all claws out when they flagged off the Year of the Tiger with back-to-back wins at the first two races of the race meeting on the second day of the Lunar New Year on Wednesday.

For punters who have plumped for the South African trainer’s Tony’s Love and Blue Idol, the hongbaos (red packets) were even thicker given their generous odds,

Blue Idol (Krisna Thangamani) gets off the mark in Race 2 on the second day of Chinese New Year (Pic – STC)

Tony’s Love’s long quote can partly be explained by his ordinary run at his last start and outermost alley in the Chinese New Year opener, the SG$30,000 Class 5 race over the Polytrack mile, but the Artie Schiller four-year-old enjoyed cover for most of the trip before Danny Beasley commenced a wide run from the 700m mark.

Upfront, the quirky Poroshiri (Marc Lerner) probably cost himself another race when he again threw his head up when collared by Sun Palace (Manoel Nunes) at the 300m, but take nothing away from Tony’s Love who kept pressing on towards the outside to get up by a short head for his second career win.

Sun Palace peaked on his assault to take third place another neck away. The winning time was 1min 38.73secs for the 1600m on the Polytrack.

With that second success in 17 starts, Tony’s Love has now made more than SG$40,000 in stakes earnings for his Filipino owner Paolo Mendoza.

“Danny kept him in the rhythm and kept him rolling. It was a good confident ride, and the horse duly responded, and well done to Paolo,” said Le Grange.

“It was a bit of an experiment to bring him back to Polytrack. He trials well on it and we stood nothing to lose.

“Drawing the outside gate was disappointing, but when you put a jockey like Danny on, you don’t have to worry about that.”

Le Grange had barely had the time to thank his good fortune for an auspicious start to the new year that more blessings were in store with an even bigger surprise in the very next race, the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1400m.

Ricardo Le Grange (Pic- Michael Lee)

A blue-blooded Argentinian-bred son of Orpen, Blue Idol had not finished on board at his previous seven starts, but his last-start closing fourth in a similar RM race over 1200m 11 days ago did give rise to some hope the penny could be dropping soon.

A patient ride from Krisna Thangamani, just smoking his pipe in sixth place a gap of three lengths off a hard-going quintet of horses, also paved the way to that maiden success for the half-brother of Blue Prize, a multiple-Group 1 winning mare of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (1800m) and two Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (1800m).

Favourite and debutant Dixit Dominus (Manoel Nunes) and Deception (Shafiq Rizuan) wore each other after matching motors for most of the way, but it was the former who hoisted the white flag first while Deception went for home looking all over the winner.

But he had not reckoned with Blue Idol, the fresh horse on the scene who started to edge into the margin when he was angled around the five-horse pack. Well ridden by Krisna, the Fred Crabbia-owned gelding knuckled down to the task to go and defeat Deception by half-a-length with Nineoneone (Iskandar Rosman) third another 2 ½ lengths away.

The winning time was 1min 22.86secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.

Blue Idol’s account opener has boosted his earnings past the SG$40,000 mark for the black and red maltese silks made famous by Singapore’s most famous racehorse of the modern era, Rocket Man.

“Blue Idol’s last run was very good. Today, he enjoyed sitting off very fast sectionals,” said Le Grange.

“He’s very well bred as he has a half-sister who was a multiple-Group 1 winner in the United States. He’s a late foal and I think he’ll be better over a longer trip.

“We put a tongue tie on him today, and he looked strong at the 600m, he was trucking up very nicely for Krisna. He will go for a break now, and he will make a nice three-year-old.

“It’s always great to train another winner for Fred and Manuela Crabbia. They have put in so much in our racing over the years.

“I’d also like to give a big shout-out to Krisna who has been my apprentice jockey since he came down from Malaysia in 2017. His work ethic is great and he never misses a day’s work.

“Krisna is an old school apprentice who looks after horses and mucks out boxes. He deserves that first win for the year.”

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