By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Newcomer Everest climbed straight to the top at his very first Kranji contest that came in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1200m on Sunday.
Long held in the firing line as the meat in the sandwich by jockey Danny Beasley, the US-bred three-year-old colt eventually saw his hard graft pay off when he pulled away from the two “buns” King Arthur (Wong Chin Chuen) and Con Speranza (Marc Lerner) inside the last furlong.
The first progeny of 2004 Breeders’ Classic winner Ghostzapper to race in Singapore, Everest went on to cross the line first with one length to spare from King Arthur while Con Speranza had to settle for third another neck away. The winning time was 1min 10.72secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.
While Everest has somehow been snubbed by punters going on his generous odds of $107, trainer Ricardo Le Grange and Beasley went in with a much greater level of confidence with the colt now raced solely by Filipino owner Paolo Mendoza following the recent demise of his father Rodolfo.
“Paolo puts a lot of money in the game. Without such owners, we basically have nothing,” said Le Grange.
“It’s always a pleasure to train a nice winner for them, and to win on debut is an even bigger thrill.
“This horse has never been on grass but from what he’s shown at home and in his trials, he definitely showed us ability, and I think he’ll be even better the further he goes.
“A big thank you must also go to (assistant-trainer) Jacci (de Tert) who never gets the accolades she deserves. She is the backbone behind the stable.”
Beasley described Everest as a “very nice horse” and potentially one of the best bred three-year-old imports this season.
“Ricardo told me he had a very nice two-year-old for me before he even got here. He’s now three as he’s a US-bred, and probably from one of the best breedings we’ve seen coming here this year,” said the Australian hoop.
“He’s by Ghostzapper and out of a good mare, too, and I believe he came from Winstar/China Horse Club as well.
“He’s a colt and is still a bit of a boy, but Ricardo has done an amazing job with him. I’ve ridden him in his trials and gallops right through his preparation from Day 1, and he’s been doing everything right.
“When the others didn’t come across at the start, I found myself more forward than I had planned. I was chuckling to myself as I knew those behind me wouldn’t beat me.”