King Louis and Webster hand Vorster nice double
South African jockey Barend Vorster had an ideal warm-up before the Singapore Gold Cup after he booted home a race-to-race double on Sunday.
The Kranji stalwart had to dig deep into his bag of tricks to lift debutant King Louis ($65) to pip Boy Wonder (Vlad Duric) by a short head in the $75,000 Sha Tin Stakes, a Novice race over 1200m but his win aboard back-from-a-freshen Webster ($26) was a lot softer, as evidenced by the loud yell he gave out as he posed for the camera at the line.
The Daniel Meagher-trained Showcasing four-year-old, who has not raced since his disappointing ninth on September 29, came with such a withering run as he emerged down the middle of the pack that there could be only one outcome as he sailed away to the line, even if Draco (Jeff Lloyd) ran on late to cut him back to one length.
King Louis (Barend Vorster, on the inside) blouses out Boy Wonder (Vlad Duric) to take out Race 7, picture Singapore Turf Club
Classified (Nooresh Juglall) ran third another three parts of a length away. The winning time was 1min 10.7secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.
Vorster, who rides one of the outsiders, Majestic Moments in the $1.35 million Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2200m), could not be more pleased with his riding double.
“King Louis is a beautiful individual and is still a colt,” said Vorster of the Medaglia D’Oro three-year-old, who boasted one win in Australia before being bought by Racing Guide boss Steve Levar.
“There are still a few tricks in him but he has some ability. He’ll get there with more racing.
“They ran along early and his sharpness saw him get to the line once he found the galloping room. He quickened up very nicely.
“As for Webster, he bounced back from his last-start failure. He goes well fresh and well done to Dan for having brought him back to his best first-up.”
King Louis’ trainer Ricardo Le Grange was confident he could show his wares at his very first local assignment even if there was some doubts over the trip.
“He’s a very smart horse even if he was a bit of an unknown as he’s done all his races in Australia,” said the South African handler.
“The further the better for him and we thought it would be a bit short today, but he showed a lot of guts to get up.”
Known as Medal Kun in Sydney where he was prepared by James Cummings, King Louis won one race over 1400m on a heavy track at Hawkesbury when ridden by Glyn Schofield.