Via Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
While owner Jayven See is at the Gold Coast on the lookout for the next superstar, wife Kathy is enjoying the spotlight of leading in another winner, Field Marshal in the last race, the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1200m on Friday night.
See, the principal owner of the Middle Kingdom Stable, is attending the Magic Millions 2YOs in Training Sale which takes place on October 14 and 15, but had his eyes peeled in front of his TV to watch his undefeated three-year-old son of Sweet Orange attempt to maintain his invincibility.
That he did, but in a hair-raising fashion that would have had his Singaporean owner chewing on his fingernails all the way over in Australia, especially inside the last furlong.
As predicted by most pundits, Field Marshal’s biggest foe was Siam Royal Orchid (Joseph Azzopardi), and the Shamus Award four-year-old certainly lived up to the tag by giving the $12 favourite and his supporters a mighty fright when he took the first run on Field Marshal, who was a couple of lengths astern right through the race.
It was a regal spectacle to behold as the talented duo locked horns from the 300m mark to the post.
Ben Thompson aboard Field Marshal and Azzopardi, Kranji’s two Australian whiz kids, slugged it out for a battle royale in which Field Marshal came out victorious by only a short head. Roughie Atlantean (Saifudin Ismail) rocketed home late for third place less than two lengths astern.
The winning time was 1min 11.17secs for the six furlongs on the Polytrack.
“I’m Down Under shopping for horses at the Magic Millions, while Kathy continues to enjoy the cheers with the Ultima Racing in Singapore,” said See in reference to the up-and-coming racing lifestyle outfit tied in with the Middle Kingdom Stable.
“Well done to (trainer) Ricardo (Le Grange) for a great training feat – it’s never easy to get a three-from-three nowadays – and Benny Thompson for a great ride!”
The Australian jockey, who partnered Field Marshal for the first time at his second win, lavished praise on the light-framed chestnut.
“We settled further back (eighth) than we would have liked. The speed was good and I was glad I was able to follow the horse to beat, Siam Blue Orchid, and keep him in my sights the whole way,” said Thompson.
“It was a great duel, and you couldn’t possibly know which way it would go as Siam Blue Orchid is also a lovely horse and he ran on well. He didn’t do anything wrong, but my horse was just too good on the day.
“I have a lot of respect for the way Field Marshal has come up against older horses tonight. I was quite confident he could hold a margin on them, though.”
Thompson actually went into Friday’s races with an earlier plum assignment for Le Grange, aboard the resuming Rocket Star, one of the brighter sparks in the two-year-old series this year.
Unfortunately, it was not a 100% record for the rare Thompson-Le Grange pairing, but the young jockey was still rapt with the result – a brave second first-up from a break.
Lining up for his first start as a three-year-old, Rocket Star was still punted down to favouritism in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1200m in spite of his well-documented eye injury. After settling just off the speed, the son of Star Witness was already under the pump 500m out, but still quickened up late to race past all his rivals, bar Hugo (see earlier report).
Thompson thought the chestnut was gallant in defeat despite having a fair amount of cobwebs to blow away.
“It’s his customary style of being hard ridden. He will strip fitter at his next run,” said Thompson.
“He was presented in good order and ran a nice second. He has plenty of upsides, I haven’t lost any faith in him, it was hard to knock that run.”
Le Grange has targeted both Field Marshal and Rocket Star at the Group 3 Saas Fee Stakes (1200m), which will be for the first time be run as a three-year-old race, on November 10.