Racing

Senor Don qualifies for the Singapore Gold Cup

But his participation depends on how well he pulls up after his first Kranji victory

With a rise of six points for his victory at Kranji on Sunday, Argentinian stayer Senor Don has qualified for the $1 million Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup over 2,000m on Saturday.

The Chelsea Stable-owned galloper was earlier 22nd on the Gold Cup entry list with 73 points.

He desperately needed the boost to get into the 16-horse line-up for the third and final leg of the Singapore Triple Crown series.

The premier classic will be spearheaded by trainer Michael Clements' Singapore Derby- Queen Elizabeth II Cup hero Top Knight. He is on 103 points.

Next on the list is trainer Shane Baertschiger's Kranji Mile-Raffles Cup winner Aramaayo, on 99 points.

Now that he has made it to the grand final with his first success from four Kranji starts in Sunday's $70,000 Class 3 race over the Polytrack 1,600m, trainer Ricardo Le Grange is just hoping that Senor Don shows no ill-effects from his winning run.

With apprentice jockey Krisna Thangamani astride, the four-year-old chestnut horse had to slog through the rain-soaked Polytrack to stave off Time Lord, the mount of Ruan Maia, by half a length.

Axel, ridden by Benny Woodworth, finished third, 3¼ lengths away.

The winning time was 1min 40.60sec.

"He's got to get in now, but first, he must pull up in good order," said Le Grange, after the race.

"There was a lot of rain, so I told Krisna to be up on the pace. He was fit for that race and he had to go forward.

"That was his racing pattern in Argentina, racing on the speed. He also enjoyed the Polytrack, he won on sand back home.

"I think the gelding operation straight after his last run also helped him."

Senor Don's last start came in the Group 1 Singapore Guineas over 1,600m.

He was prominent throughout, before fading late to beat just one home, but only around seven lengths off the outstanding Inferno.

Le Grange was particularly pleased that last-ditch attempt to sneak Senor Don into the Singapore Gold Cup has paid off, more so when the Chelsea Stable had acquired him with that race as his ultimate goal.

Never mind if he has scraped in by the skin of his teeth.

"The owners bought him for the Gold Cup, but let's see how he pulls up first," he said.

"The Chelsea Stable has been long-time supporters of (ex-Kranji trainer and his former mentor) Patrick (Shaw) and myself, and it's great to see their horse may get a start.

"It was also a great ride by Krisna. He's showing great confidence these days."

In Argentina, Senor Don had nine starts for three wins from 1,200m to 1,600m, including two in Group 3.

HORSE RACING