Mighty Emperor gives Krisna first Kranji winner
Malaysian rookie gets high praises from his master, trainer Ricardo Le Grange
While fellow rookie Nurshahril Nordin had two winners last year and rode his first of this season with Hongchen in the opening event yesterday, Krisna Kumar Thangamani savoured his first Kranji success with a beautiful ride on $152 outsider MIGHTY EMPEROR six races later.
The winner's stablemate and more fancied runner, $25 chance Saraab, had popped ahead shortly after straightening but Krisna rallied back to win by three-quarter lengths.
It was only his fourth ride since making his Singapore debut on Southern Dragon on Aug 6 and he was praised to the sky by his new master, Ricardo Le Grange, after the race.
"You know, he's a kid that ticks all the boxes," said Le Grange, mentioning Krisna first and then Mighty Emperor.
"He's hard-working, he's exceptionally dedicated, he listens, he does his homework and he watches all the race replays.
"This is only his fourth ride in Singapore and he already has a winner, so I think he's going to be a kid with a bright future."
You know, he's a kid that ticks all the boxes ... I think he's going to be a kid with a bright future."Trainer Ricardo Le Grange, on apprentice T Krisna
Turning to his South African-bred gelding's seventh victory from 33 starts, he said: "For this horse, we tried a couple of different things with him.
"We took the blinkers off, put a pair of side winkers, did a bit of different work with him and, you know, it all came to plan.
"I thought my second horse ran a very good race as well. You know, first time in Class 3. He's a horse on the upgrade, but take nothing away from the winner.
"The kid rode a very good race and this horse dug down very deep. Good South African horses, they just keep coming on to the fore all the time."
Although drawn the widest in the field of 12 in the Class 3 event over the Polytrack 1,700m, Krisna jumped his mount out beautifully and gradually crossed in to be just behind the top trio - Kolombia, Supernova and Saraab - racing past the winning post for the first time.
Krisna deftly steered Mighty Emperor up to eyeball Kolombia shortly after turning into the backstretch.
A length away came Supernova, followed by Saraab and Chairman, the first emergency acceptor who secured a berth.
Mighty Emperor swept past Kolombia turning for home.
Jockey Oscar Chavez brought Saraab up with a sweeping move and poked ahead in the final 300m and looked poised for an easy victory.
But Krisna showed his resilience. His perseverance and good balance in the saddle got Mighty Emperor powering again to beat his stablemate by three parts of a length.
Krisna's best from his three previous Kranji rides was a three-quarter-length second on Majestic Empress behind stablemate Ettijah on Aug 11.
The 23-year-old from Penang was previously indentured to Kuala Lumpur-based trainer Richard Lines and was victorious 23 times up north.
The diminutive and lightweight rider was cool as a cucumber at the post-race interview, replying in an almost deadpan manner.
"This is my first winner and I am very happy," he said.
"I would like to say thanks to my boss, Mr Ricardo, and my ex-boss, Mr Richard Lines. He was the one who recommended me here."
On six-year-old Mighty Emperor, he said: "He's a nice horse but he's a bit lazy. The first thing is to jump properly and I jumped properly today.
"He got a good position and kept improving, and he brought me to the winning line."