Maxima easily makes amends
After turning the tables on Easy Breezy, German-bred will now face tougher tasks
Former Hong Kong-based German galloper Maxima exacted sweet revenge on his last-start nemesis Easy Breezy on Saturday.
The two last met in a Class 4 race (1,400m) on Sept 9. After his sterling winning debut, Maxima was unsurprisingly sent out the $7 favourite while Easy Breezy was the $100 pop still chasing his first Kranji win at his seventh start, even if the South African-bred had threatened on the odd occasion.
Just when Maxima looked home and hosed as he hit the front for Manoel Nunes, Easy Breezy came gunning him down.
A rematch was in the works when they clashed again in another Class 4 event on Saturday, but with a couple of tweaks.
Easy Breezy was carrying 3kg more (56kg versus 53kg) while Maximus took only a 0.5kg hike.
There was also 200m more, and a riding change for Maxima with Vlad Duric replacing Nunes while Daniel Meagher naturally stayed with winning jockey Wong Chin Chuen for Easy Breezy.
But it was arguably the 2.5kg swing in weights that saw Maxima turn the tables this time.
In the running, Easy Breezy was a lot further back, while Maxima again hugged the rails after jumping from another low draw.
When Duric peeled Maxima out for his run at the top of the straight, Easy Breezy was still way behind.
By the time the South African-bred Dynasty seven-year-old picked his way through the pack, Maxima had already flown.
He still made stacks of ground to come within 1¼ lengths of Maxima, but had been beaten fair and square. The winning time was 1min 34.97sec for the 1,600m on the short course.
Trainer Ricardo Le Grange still flinches at the thought of Maxima’s only defeat, but would rather not look in the rear-view mirror.
“I was definitely confident he could bounce back today,” said the South African trainer, who bagged a treble, with Rocketship and Renzo also saluting.
“He carried weight but he quickened up really well once he got the split at the top of the straight.
“He won over 1,600m as a two-year-old. He will race over 10 furlongs.
“Vlad also said he would not be scared to get him to 1,800m.
“He’s still work in progress, but we’ll step him up in class now.”
The rise in both distance and class was hardly a subtle hint which race Le Grange had in mind – the Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2,000m) on Nov 11.
Duric, who also agreed that Maxima was worth much better than Class 4, even suggested that back-to-back wins from last year’s winning Hong Kong connections would not be a stretch.
“Maxima won really well today. He had good form in Hong Kong,” said the four-time Singapore champion jockey.
“We had a beautiful run and he was produced at the right time. He’s better than Class 4.
“He can sneak in as a lightweight chance in the Gold Cup. Those colours won that race last year, why not with this one?”
Hong Kong owner Edmond Yue, well known back home for top horses like Panfield and Butterfield, won the 2022 Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2,000m) with Hongkong Great, who is also trained by Le Grange.
“It’s great to train another winner (Maxima) for the Yue family,” said Le Grange.
“I shouldn’t forget to also give a shout-out to Rozlan (Nazam) who rides Maxima in trackwork.”