Trainer Kuah Cheng Tee put Decreto’s debut win down to raw ability, but said better things should be in the offing after he noticed a sharp improvement in his mannerisms since.
The Red Giant three-year-old was very wayward at his first start on February 3, hanging out and not really toeing the line for experienced jockey Azhar Ismail throughout the Restricted Maiden race over 1100m.
But the moment the winning post caught his eye, he sprouted wings to score quite comfortably.
Decreto (Azhar Ismail) overcame greenness to skip clear to a nice win first-up, picture Singapore Turf Club
The rough-hewn run was cause for concern, but Kuah reported that Decreto has mended his ways since. Condition-wise, he has not gone backwards, fuelling Kuah’s hopes he will do equally well, if not better at his next start in Friday’s Class 4 race over 1200m on Polytrack.
“He’s calmed down a lot, he’s more settled down now,” said the second-year trainer.
“I know it’s only his second run coming up but he gives me the impression he has matured so much in that time since his first run.
“Azhar gallops him and has given me positive feedback, too. He trialled him last week and he was very happy with his run (second to Good Lucky).
“He has maintained his condition, but that trial has helped him come on further for Friday’s race.”
The only question mark bothering Kuah a shade is the rise in class for the Synthetic Stable-owned galloper, but otherwise, he is looking forward to further improvement – both physically and mentally in the race.
“The only query is he will be up in class – Class 4 is much stronger,” said the former jockey.
“He is also up in distance but looking at the way he won at his first race, I think he will handle it. We took a chance with him, and let’s hope he can win again.”
After training 11 winners at his first season, Kuah has been able to keep up the same tempo with already four winners under his belt this year, the latest secured in the Stewards’ room – $118 outsider Golden Thunder on Friday.
Kuah was particularly rapt with that achievement, not so much for keeping the race after jockey Olivier Placais (Silk Route) fired in an objection against Golden Thunder and apprentice Chan Wei Sheng for alleged interference in the home straight, but for a more personal reason.
“Golden Thunder is one of two horses I bought from the Irish sale held at the Club last May,” said Kuah.
“I really liked the colt, the way he paraded on the giant screen on ‘live’ TV. I made a bid and bought him for €40,000 for one of my local owners, My Man Stable.
“He didn’t show much at his first runs, but after I took the blinkers off at his last start, he really showed improvement. It was also good for Desmond (Chan) who works hard, but I’m also hard on him and he’s getting the results now.”
The auction where Golden Thunder was bought was organised jointly by the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing and Goresbridge Bloodstock Sales last year. It was a first of its kind, whereby Singapore buyers can bid electronically from the Owners’ Lounge at Kranji while the actual sale takes place in Ireland.
The pricier of the pair bought by Kuah was actually the other horse, a US-bred colt by Paddy O’Prado later named King Of Household, and who was knocked down for €85,000 for Kuah’s Hong Kong owner Peter Lau. Unfortunately, his Kranji debut has been put on hold.
“He was coming along nicely and had three barrier trials, but he has hurt himself and we will have to back him off for a while. That’s racing for you – ups and downs,” said Kuah.