Racing

Mokastar beats the favourite on race experience

Jockey Juglall's birthday present promise comes true

Jockey Nooresh Juglall might consider a second job as a wedding planner.

The Mauritian really wanted to ride a winner as the perfect wedding gift for his main supporter, trainer Ricardo Le Grange, whose brother Daniel got married in England on Friday.

From his big book of 15 rides over the weekend, he had singled out Mokastar in yesterday's $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1,000m as his best bet for that mission.

Just like the flowers and the wine had been perfect on Daniel and Amelle Le Grange's wedding day, Juglall's little wedding plan all the way from Kranji could not have been executed any better.

After drawing blanks from his seven rides on Friday, Juglall bounced right back yesterday to get right on the money aboard his top pick himself.

Sent as the $10 second-favourite, the Tmen Stable-owned Mokastar matched motors early with the odds-on $8 favourite and Mark Walker's newcomer Shamrock (Vlad Duric), who kicked up from barrier No. 1 to keep Mokastar on his outside for most of the backstraight.

GRAND ENTRANCE

But, with Shamrock slightly intimidated at the 500m mark and losing about half a length in the process, Mokastar eventually settled resolutely on the steel to swing for home to a grand entrance that could have indeed been played to the wedding march.

Responding to Juglall's urgings, the Poet's Voice three-year-old bounded away to a most emphatic three-and-three-quarter-length win from Shamrock.

Evil Speedo (apprentice Nurshahril Nordin) finished third, one-and-a-half lengths away.

The winning time was 59.39sec for the 1,000m speed dash on the Polytrack.

"I'm just so happy I won with this horse as he really deserved to win a race and it couldn't have been on a better occasion," said Juglall.

"It's a great gift for Ricardo's brother's wedding and also for Emily Hwang, the owner.

"I had to use him early but, once he put his head in front, he had his ears pricked and I was quite happy to just leave him there even if he was on the outside of Vlad's horse.

"I didn't want to chase him to clear his horse, just let him gallop beside his and, in the straight, he gave a powerful kick and was just too good.

"Well, like I said before, he was the class horse in the race and his greater experience helped him.

"Vlad's horse was new and is still very green but he seems to be a nice horse, too."

It was Mokastar's fifth start. He was second in his first two starts, ran third third-up and then finished 11th to Be Bee in the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe.

Racing