Trainer Ricardo Le Grange was gutted after Bale Star returned from his unplaced run in the 2015 Group 2 EW Barker Trophy with the scourge of racehorses – bleeding.
The South African, who was then assistant-trainer to Patrick Shaw, knew that third attack spelled only one thing under the Malayan Racing Association (MRA) Rule 92(7) – a permanent ban.
With five wins in only 24 starts, the son of Nadeem could have reached loftier heights, Le Grange always thought.
Green as grass: Magic Wand at his debut win for Manoel Nunes and Bruce Marsh two weeks ago, picture Singapore Turf Club
The closest the Tmen Stable-owned galloper came to landing a Group win was in the 2014 Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1400m) when second to another bleeder, Emperor Max.
Two years later, Le Grange, who is now a trainer in his own right and is enjoying a fantastic first season with a close battle for second with Shane Baertschiger, is handed the reins of a close relative to Bale Star, Magic Wand, his little half-brother.
The son of Star Witness out of Thanksgiving (same dam as Bale Star who was by Nadeem) was nowhere near the finished product at his debut on Singapore Gold Cup day on November 12 when the greenhorn zigged when he should have zagged under Manoel Nunes to still score going away from Lonhro Gold in a Restricted Maiden race over 1200m.
Sent out as the short-priced favourite presumably on the back of his two barrier trial wins, Magic Wand was scoring his first win for trainer Bruce Marsh – but also his last. The next week, he was moved to Le Grange’s yard by his owner Jeffrey Soh of Titanium Stable, the same connections behind two-out-of-two winner Nowyousee.
Le Grange said Magic Wand has come to him in good shape and he could only hope he does not buck the winning trend. The chestnut lines up in Sunday’s last race, the $60,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1200m, with Bale Star’s towering shadow sure to stand tall during that race.
“I just got him and he obviously is a talented horse from the way he won on debut,” said Le Grange.
“He’s a half-brother to Bale Star who had a bleeding problem, but could have been anything.
“He’s obviously still got a lot to learn and won on raw ability at his first run, but if he’s just like Bale Star, he should be a better horse over 1400m to 1600m. This is a lovely last race for him before the break.”
Le Grange’s stable jockey Barend Vorster will take over from the suspended Nunes on Sunday. Besides the rise in class against the likes of Dutrow and First Light, the other query in the 14-horse field is the outermost alley.
“It’s kind of a strong race and he has drawn the widest, but fingers crossed, he still goes well,” said Le Grange.