Gutsy Iron Man lands hat-trick of wins

The Ricardo Le Grange-trained Iron Man showed his big heart when he held off Certainly in the $100,000 Open Benchmark 83 race over 1400m on Friday night to make it a three-in-a-row.

Unlike his last two wins in Kranji Stakes C races (over 1600m and 1400m) when he was up on the pace, the son of Hidden Truth was still seen running near the back when the field turned into the straight.

The leader White Hunter (Vlad Duric) was visibly fading on the rails after burning up the track, and Al Green (Craig Grylls) took over the lead, but by the 200m, the swoopers were closing in.

Iron Man (Barend Vorster) holds off Certainly (Michael Rodd) to claim the Open Benchmark 83 race, picture Singapore Turf Club

Awesome (Noh Senari) and Battle Of Troy (Wong Chin Chuen) tried hard to catch the leader but to no avail. Iron Man (Barend Vorster) and Certainly (Michael Rodd), on the other hand, were not ready to give up on the outside.

At the 100m, Al Green, Iron Man and Certainly became locked in a three-way battle, but Iron Man showed his gutsiness as he got up to win by half-a-length over the well-tried Certainly. Al Green held on another one-and-a-quarter lengths away.

The winning time on the Short Course over 1400m was 1min 22.06secs.

Le Grange revealed having had the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy (run on November 10 and won by the Tan Kah Soon-trained Clarton Super) in mind for the Argentinian five-year-old gelding, but thought it was not the best of choice to make in the end.

“We were a bit unlucky with this horse because I wanted to run him in the (EW) Barker (Trophy), but the race came a bit too soon for him,” said the South African handler.

“So the guys were a little disappointed, but to have backed him up two weeks after his win, I don’t think it was the right thing to do.

“A big thanks to the guys (Falcon Racing No 4 Stable) from Thailand. They leave me to do my own things and it makes your life as a trainer so much easier.

“This horse is really gutsy. It was a fantastic ride from Barend too. And I think it was right to bring him back in trip.

“He’s just a happy horse, and I think it’s a really good win from him tonight.”

Vorster concurred with his fellow South African that his mount showed plenty of courage, but added that the sizzling pace worked to his advantage.

“It was a massive win tonight,” said Vorster.

“He jumped on terms but they just lapped so hard early.

“And at the 400m, I was under pressure just to get him into position, so he did great to pick up from where he was.

“They went hard early, so he was always going to make up ground and as he was proven over more ground before, he had the stamina and still stayed.

“With a hot pace like that, he was going to have something to give at the finish.

“Well done to Ricky and the team.”

Known as Famoso Dan in Argentina where he won three races from four starts, Iron Man has now brought his record to four wins and three placings from 16 starts at Kranji for stakes earnings over $230,000 for his Thai owners.

Elusive Emperor doubled the joy for the Le Grange-Vorster combination when he fought back to nose out Kingsman (Vlad Duric) on the line in the $80,000 Class 3 race over 1200m in the next race, with Le Grange and Vorster now sitting on 65 and 45 winners respectively.