It doesn’t always pan out that way, but Sunday’s $80,000 Class 3 race over 1000m saw the two joint-favourites Mokastar and Chalaza prove the market right with a brilliant 1-2 finish.
After a fairly uncomplicated journey, the Ricardo Le Grange-trained Mokastar (Nooresh Juglall) came thundering down the home straight inside the last 300m, but seemed to peak on his run. He had to be hard-pushed by his rider before he could finally shake race-leader Silkino (Barend Vorster) off inside the last 100m.
Even then, the Poet’s Voice three-year-old was not quite home and hosed yet as the yellow colours of Chalaza (Ryan Curatolo) came rattling home on the outside.
The Steven Burridge-trained son of Road To Rock looked a live chance to upstage his co-favourite on the outside, but Mokastar had left too much space to spare, and Chalaza had to settle for the runner-up spot three parts of a length away with Silkino hanging on for third place another head away. The winning time was 1min 0.07secs for the 1000m dash on the Polytrack.
Le Grange was effusive in his post-race appraisal, wishing he had a yard full of Mokastars.
“I love this horse so much. He’s as gutsy as they come,” said last year’s runner-up in the trainers’ standings and who got his 2018 account off and running earlier with another favourite, Super Power.
“He wants to win his races all the time. I bought him at the Magic Millions Ready-To-Run and Mark Yong was kind enough to buy him.
“He has done him and the stable proud since and I have to say Nooresh also gave him a very good ride, he never panicked.”
Juglall was savouring the moment even more as his parents were currently in town to lead in their son’s first 2018 winner.
“He’s a small horse but very gutsy. He gives you good confidence every time he runs,” said the Mauritian jockey.
“They went too fast early. I didn’t want to get him out of his stride.
“At the top of the straight, he gave a nice kick and it’s nice to get my first winner. I dedicate that win to my parents who are here visiting me.”
When asked if the Tmen Stable-owned youngster was in the running for the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, Le Grange, who had already identified previous winner Super Power as a 3YO contender, treaded carefully.
“He seems to be more of a Polytrack horse. He has been a good moneyspinner for us, but I’m not saying no,” said the South African handler.
“Let’s see what happens and I’ll have a better idea where he is headed.”
With that third win in 10 outings, Mokastar has now brought his stakes earnings close to the $200,000 mark.