Gutsy Mokastar scores third victory
Trainer Ricardo Le Grange full of praise for his promising 3YO
Mokastar, a young horse on the way up, picked up from where he left off last year with a gutsy victory in his new campaign at Kranji yesterday.
The Ricardo Le Grange-trained last-start winner lived up to his track and trial form to take the $80,000 Class 3 event over the Polytrack 1,000m in Race 7 and maintain his consistency.
Although small in size, weighing only 450kg yesterday, the Australian-bred gelding finished out of the first three only once from 10 starts and yesterday's win was his third.
His only unplaced run came in the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe over 1,200m.
With yesterday's success, he has now amassed close to $200,000 for the Yongs of Tmen Stable.
Mokastar was expected to lead from barrier 5 but Silkino and Justice Light kicked ahead from the get-go.
He's as gutsy as they come, you know. He's just all heart. He wants to win his races. I think it was a good ride from Nooresh. He never panicked.Trainer Ricardo Le Grange, on Mokastar
Jockey Nooresh Juglall took the initiative to settle Mokastar, who was my best bet, in the box-seat third. Silkino won the lead. Justice Light hounded him but raised the white flag shortly after straightening.
Juglall pounced into action and got Mokastar up to challenge Silkino and hit the front 120m out for a good win.
Chalaza, who came in for last-minute betting to share $19 favouritism with Mokastar, moved up from midfield to finish second, three-quarters length behind.
Juglall duly paid tribute to Mokastar for giving him his first winner of the new season.
"Big thanks to the horse. He has got a big heart. You know, he's small but he's so gutsy," said the Mauritian.
"That's the type of horse that gives you more confidence to ride. From the jump, they were going a bit quick for him.
"Round the bend, I just let him find his feet and, top of the straight, I asked for the effort and he dug down and won a very nice race."
Le Grange was also all praise for his gutsy money-spinner and to Juglall for a brilliant ride.
"He's an honest, little horse, you just love to own and train," said last season's premiership runner-up in his first season.
"He's as gutsy as they come, you know. He's just all heart. He wants to win his races.
"You know, I went to the Magic Millions and I bought him as a ready-to-run horse.
"Mark and Emily kind of put their hands up for me to buy him and he has done them and the stable proud.
"I think it was a good ride from Nooresh. He never panicked and, all in all, it was his first winner as well, so everything's going great."
Given what Mokastar has achieved so far, the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge Series naturally beckons but Le Grange was not about to be drawn into that yet.
"Look, at this stage, he seems to prefer the Polytrack, but we'll just take it race by race," said the South African.
"I think, you know, he's just a great little money-spinner and I'm not saying no, but let's see what happens."
Le Grange was also pleased with his Race 3 winner, $7 favourite Super Power, who completed a double from just four starts.
He reckoned the Number One Stable-owned three-year-old could develop into "quite a nice horse" because he fought off two horses when taken on the whole way on the long course.
"So, he showed a lot of guts and I think he's a horse with a future, and we just have to look after him."