Grand Sage to make amends
Baertschiger’s progressive three-year-old out to put his unlucky last-start run behind
Grand Sage should put his last-start unlucky episode behind him and recoup the losses on Nov 18.
That will be in the $50,000 Class 4 event over 1,400m on the short course.
The progressive three-year-old Australian-bred by Santos would probably have justified the favourite’s tag in his four-wins-in-a-row bid, instead of finishing second, on Nov 4.
Racegoers backed him down as the $12 hot fancy but he lost to Axel by 1¼ lengths in the Class 4 Division 1 event over 1,400m.
It was evident that he could have won if not for interference in the running.
The stipendiary stewards’ report mentioned that, near the 600m, Grand Sage improved on the heels of Fearless Warrior and had to be steadied.
When being steadied, he shifted out and bumped Lim’s Craft.
After that, he was held up rounding the home turn, until being shifted out to obtain clear running near the 300m.
That cost him his momentum and some precious lengths. He was putting in good work at the finish under Vlad Duric.
It must also be noted that Duric had to stop riding briefly shortly after jumping to bend down to adjust his left stirrup, before pushing his mount forward again.
Grand Sage got up to share the lead with Quadcopter and Fearless Warrior but the trio were soon overtaken by Gold Governor.
Grand Sage subsequently dropped back to fourth, one off the fence, and in front of Axel.
When Duric shifted out for a run turning for home, it presented a gap for Axel to take the shortest route home.
But, alas, Grand Sage encountered heavy traffic. He could not lengthen strides and had to turn his head sideways.
If not for that, he would have taken off.
Axel, on the other hand, had a saloon passage on the inside. He made the first run – and won under champion jockey Manoel Nunes’ vigorous riding.
Indeed, Grand Sage was gallant in defeat.
“Yeah, he should have won. He got held up and checked in the straight,” said Baertschiger.
“Happy with him since the run, just a question mark with the two-week back-up.”
Duric has been booked on the David Kok-trained nine-time winner Sabah Star and Ronnie Stewart will be reunited with Grand Sage.
Stewart rode the bay gelding to a ½-length victory – his third in a row – over Lim’s Puncak Jaya over the course and trip on Sept 23.