Racing

King Louis is back

Le Grange-trained seven-year-old bounces back from long drought

After "abdicating" for over 1,000 days, which saw him fall from a Group winner to Class 4, King Louis bounced back on Saturday with a stylish victory.

Ridden by Marc Lerner, the Ricardo Le Grange-trained seven-year-old came from a handy spot to beat Free Fallin' by half a length in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 event.

He covered the Polytrack 1,600m in 1min 38.11sec.

In his heyday, King Louis captured the $150,000 Group 3 El Dorado Classic over 2,000m. That was in September 2018.

In July 2019, he finished third behind Sun Marshal in the $1 million Group 1 Singapore Derby over 1,800m.

A month later, he was fourth to I'm Incredible in the $175,000 Group 3 Committee's Prize over 1,600m.

This was followed by a third in the El Dorado Classic and a narrow second in the $800,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup over 1,800m.

I'm Incredible also won both races and was voted the Horse of the year.

His form started to taper off after his sixth placing behind Elite Invincible in the $1.35 million Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup over 2,200m in November 2018.

His last success was on Oct 21, 2018 - the run after his El Dorado Classic victory - in a Class 2 race over 1,800m.

He picked up six points to 87, his highest. But he had dropped to just 67 points on Saturday.

His latest victory has hiked his earnings to about $882,000. From 44 starts, he has five wins, five seconds and seven thirds.

Le Grange could not explain the long dry spell, but knew his charge has been long due for another victory.

"To be honest, I'm not sure. Maybe he just needed to get his confidence again, he got a bit stale," he said.

"I'm just so happy for the horse. That's all I have to say, really. Just to see him win again really made my day, and what a great ride from Marc. He put in maximum effort.

"He had to be positive today as the horse was super fit."

King Louis went into Saturday's race with a good trial win last Tuesday, which was highlighted in The New paper.

That raised his chances, but only the born optimists kept the faith with him. He won at 7-1 odds.

Punched out of the gate aggressively by Lerner, he was actually the quickest in the 12-horse field past the winning post the first time.

Green Star (Mohd Zaki) and Royalty (Koh Teck Huat) then came whizzing past.

It probably worked out best for a galloper who had never found himself as the dictator at his previous 43 starts, as he took a drop in the box-seat.

But, once the rails gap presented itself upon straightening, the winning flair was really and truly awakened.

That blinding acceleration was not quite there. But he still did his best work to go through before edging clear of Free Fallin'.

HORSE RACING