South African Group 1 winner Noah From Goa atoned from his defeat on debut by scoring a resounding all-the-way victory that was a truer reflection of his potential in the $125,000 Better Than Ever 2010 Stakes, a Kranji Stakes A race over 1800m on Sunday.
The 2015 Cape Guineas winner was launched over a similar Kranji Stakes A race, but over 1200m at his Singapore debut five weeks ago. Donning blinkers on that day, the Tiger Ridge six-year-old was like a fish out of water, not to mention he got galloped into and returned with cuts to his near-fore.
Noah From Goa wins.
A first-up defeat from a much-hyped galloper is always hard to grapple with, but trainer Ricardo Le Grange copped it on the chin, and to his credit, did not dwell on it, confident in his horse’s ability to bounce back.
The South African handler did away with the headgear second-up, and also stretched the chestnut out to a more suitable trip. Chuck in a rousing barrier trial win (August 2) in between, and the machine was ready to rumble.
That he did in brilliant fashion on Sunday, under the guidance of Nooresh Juglall. The Mauritian jockey, who was also aboard at his first Kranji outing, did not hold back when he noticed the other seven runners’ reluctance to go forward.
From the moment Noah From Goa took charge, it became increasingly clear they would be hard-pressed to run him down in the home straight.
His joint-favourite ($20) Makanani (Olivier Placais) did sneak up threateningly on his inside, while Song To The Moon (Matthew Poon), Blue Swede (John Powell) and El Dorado Classic winner Secret Win (Benny Woodworth) were mounting an all-out assault to bring him down, but not to much avail.
The former Mike de Kock protégé never weakened, ambling away to a most impressive 1 ¼-length win from Makanani with Song To The Moon third another neck away. The winning time was 1min 49.49secs for the 1800m on the Long Course.
A delighted Le Grange could breathe better after such a scintillating performance from possibly the best-credentialled horse he was given since he took over Patrick Shaw at the end of 2016.
“Like I said, I learned a lot from the horse. After his first run, I’ve gone back and done things that worked the right way for him,” he said.
“I’ve put this first run behind and it’s great the horse has won today. To do this at his second run after a lengthy break while giving weight to his rivals, it was a really decent effort.
“I’ve got a few people to thank now. First of all, big thanks to Mike de Kock who sent me such a good horse to train.
“It’s also a great honour to train for Mary Slack and her daughter Jessica. They are famous owners and top breeders back home.
“I would also like to thank Nooresh who rode a cracker. He allowed the horse to dictate and that went in our favour.
“I also have to thank his track rider Ayie who rides him every day. Ayie’s a proper rider and you need someone like him to ride a quirky horse like Noah From Goa.”