Field Marshal salutes first-up
Ricardo Le Grange-trained two-year-old trial winner scores on raw ability in three-way finish
Another of trainer Ricardo Le Grange's two-year-old newcomers has greeted the judge - this time giving the South African more than just one good reason to smile.
His debutant Field Marshal's gutsy victory in a three-way finish in Race 2 at Kranji on Sunday was also a great birthday present for his mother.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to wish my mama a happy birthday. It's her birthday today itself," said Le Grange, who recently won with his promising juveniles Rocket Star and Golden Dash.
Obviously, to see a raw two-year-old go out there and win first-up was the primary source of satisfaction.
"He is still as green as grass but he has plenty of upside. He won on sheer guts and ability today," said Le Grange.
A son former smart Hong Kong middle-distance performer Sweet Orange, Field Marshal did show some promising signs at his barrier trials. He won his June 27 1,000m trial on the Polytrack in a good time of 1min 00.93sec with 65kg on his back.
Le Grange was just as pleased for the way his apprentice jockey T Krisna handled Field Marshal with superb poise and tactical nous on Sunday.
Krisna coaxed the wayward Middle Kingdom Stable-owned chestnut gelding to the line to snatch the win by the barest of margins in a blanket finish.
The$13 second favourite showed greenness by running about in the straight, but managed to get up on the outside to finish locked together with Kuda Bagus (Benny Woodworth) in the middle and Qiji Acheeva (A'Isisuhairi Kasim) on the inside rails.
The photo-finish showed only a nose splitting Field Marshal from Kuda Bagus, with another nose to Qiji Acheeva.
Le Grange was pleased with Krisna's improved riding and praised one of his mentors.
"I'd also like to praise the great work done by the Singapore Turf Club riding coach Matthew Pumpa. He's really improved not only Krisna's riding, but all the other apprentices," said Le Grange.
"I told Krisna to just ride the horse where he is comfortable and where he lands, as we don't know the horse. Just sit off him as I wanted to teach him early days to not tear away. Krisna did exactly as I told him.
"And, of course, a big thank you to the guys from Middle Kingdom, they will have a lot of fun with this horse."