Ricardo’s Sweet treble
South African trainer scores with Sweet Angeline, Gold Prize and Churchill
Trainer Ricardo Le Grange was in top form at Kranji yesterday, landing a treble with Sweet Angeline, Gold Prize and Churchill, with better things in the horizon.
All week, the hype was the exciting clash between smart debut winners Sweet Angeline and Knight Love in the $50,000 Class 4 Div 2 event over the Polytrack 1,200m.
Both horses have thrived since their convincing debut victories and, indeed, they lived up to the billing with a 1-2 finish.
The winner's cheque went to Sweet Angeline, my best bet in the 14-race card.
Owned by former Singapore Turf Club racecaller Steve Levar's TRC Stable and named after his daughter based on the Elvis Presley song, Sweet Angeline put up another gutsy performance to beat Knight Love by a length.
The winning time was 1min 11.99sec, just a tad faster than the 1min 12.03sec, when Sweet Angeline led all the way in the last race on April 3, after which Singapore racing was locked down for three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
This time round, the bay Australian-bred filly carried 2kg more, at 58kg, and jumped from the second-widest barrier (No. 11), compared to No. 8 first-up.
She improved by leaps and bounds after her debut, so did Knight Love and the Michael Clements-trained US-bred was carrying only 52.5kg and jumped from Gate 4.
Both horses were swift at barrier-rise and probably did not want to burn out each other.
The Mok Zhan Lun-trained Legend Rocks found himself in front on settling down from the two protagonists. Baffert and Delaware, wide out, were next.
Three-time Singapore champion jockey Vlad Duric niggled Sweet Angeline turning for home and his mount popped slightly ahead on straightening.
Knight Love took the shortest route. Delaware moved up like a good horse wide out. The four horses were almost abreast at the 300m mark, but Legend Rocks quickly dropped out.
After a tussle with her remaining two challengers, Sweet Angeline found more under Duric's vigorous riding to win.
"That was a very gutsy performance from a filly carrying top weight and giving weight around, and still showing guts and determination to want to win, so that was a huge win for me," said Le Grange.
The South African added the filly will head straight for the $400,000 Group 2 Singapore Classic over 1,400m on Aug 30.
Churchill, also owned by Levar's TRC Stable, may go for the $1 million Group 1 Singapore Derby over 1,800m on Sept 6, after his "huge" victory under replacement jockey Ryan Munger, who was also aboard Gold Prize.
"He was trapped wide the whole way from the wide barrier. Obviously, he has got a big future," said Le Grange.
"We would like to go to the Derby. I'll speak with Steve, but I think he deserves his chance to have a crack at the Derby."