Ryan Munger believes a drop in grade to the $85,000 Class 2 race on the Polytrack mile on Friday will suit classy stayer King Louis down to the ground.
A first sit on the 2018 Group 3 El Dorado Classic (2000m) winner in a Kranji Stakes A race over 1800m run on a wet track on March 7 has also helped the South African jockey gain a better insight on the Medaglia d’Oro five-year-old.
Held in his customary rearward spot from the start, King Louis began a searching run on the outside from the 600m, but peaked on his run to finish fifth, four and a half lengths off the winner Yulong Edition, whom he will meet two kilos better this time.
“I think we’ve found the right race for him. He’s down in class and it’s a small field,” said Munger, a first-time licensee who commenced his one-year tenure in January.
“From the way he finished at his last start, I think he’ll be a big runner on Friday. He’s raced mostly on grass, but he had the one run on Polytrack and did very well.”
That was at his second season in 2018 when he let down nicely to run a half-length second to Sky Rocket. At his next start three weeks later, he captured the El Dorado Classic under Glen Boss.
iRace supremo Steve Levar’s galloper won one more race, but has since strung up many unlucky placings in Group events, with his nose second under William Pike to I’m Incredible in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m) the most agonisingly close.
“He did nothing wrong at my first time riding him at his last start,” said Munger.
“He was seven lengths back and he was steadily closing in, but the track was very soft, and it was very hard to make up ground.
“But he still did well to finish close (half-length) behind Countofmontecristo.”
Munger said he saw no reason why he would not elect for the same waiting tactics on Friday night.
“You can’t change a winning formula. He just likes to be left alone at the back, and that’s the best way to ride him,” he said.
“The field is not as strong as last time, but it’s still an even field. I hope he runs well.”
Munger is making no secret of King Louis being by far his best ride of the night. The lightweight jockey’s other four bookings are You Are Special, Stormy View, I’m A Conqueror and Without Prejudice, all coming in the first four races with King Louis’s run slated in Race 5.
“King Louis is the ride I’m looking forward to the most on Friday,” said Munger who has thus far ridden three winners, Pindus, Zoffspeed and Water Rocket, all for King Louis’ trainer Ricardo Le Grange.
“There’s not much to write home about for the others, but you never know.”