First-season trainer Ricardo Le Grange could not stop smiling after old marvel Board Walk sprang a mini upset in Friday’s $60,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1200m to extend his handy record to 11 wins.
It’s been almost a year since the American-bred seven-year-old by Student Council last won a race, when he was then prepared by Le Grange’s former boss Patrick Shaw. A dozen of starts have since seen him finish more often at the wrong end of the field, but Le Grange always knew he still had that winning spark lurking somewhere in him.
It was just a matter of getting the right race and all the planets aligned, not to mention a good pair of hands.
With jockey Nooresh Juglall switching to a more positive ride was probably the key factor to the 11th win from the Fred Crabbia-owned galloper.
Serving it up to race-leader Peach Bowl (Syafiq Hazman) from the outset, Board Walk stayed camped in that one-off berth, but seemed to be losing ground when the pace took off at the 400m.
After stalking up the speed in the box-seat from the get-go, Jackfish (Vlad Duric) was at that moment looking a lot more fluid in his action as he darted through between Peach Bowl and Board Walk to launch his bid around the home turn.
But Juglall had actually pulled the trigger at the same time as Jackfish. It was just that Board Walk was taking a smidgin longer to warm up to the task, but once he hit top gear, he straightaway rolled to the front as Jackfish wilted out of the race. Giving his rivals some sight, he kept working solidly to the line to go and salute by half-a-length from the fast-finishing Falkirk Lead (Alan Munro).
As for 2-1 favourite Mikcaipho, he boxed on gamely inside the last 100m to finish third another half-a-length away. The winning time was 1min 11.54secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.
“He’s like a big brother for the horses that come in for the first time. He’s like a pony to them,” said Le Grange who flew to the Gold Coast to attend the Magic Millions National Yearling Sale straight after his Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup win with Quechua last Sunday.
“He’s now won around $550,000, and it’s been an absolute honour to train a horse like him. Well done to Fred as well.
“Nooresh rode him positive from the word go tonight and he’s then kept all his rivals at bay. He’s a wonderful horse to work with, but you’ve got to know him.
“I’m so happy the old man’s won as a large amount of work has gone into him. It’s great to see the results come off.”
Juglall was certainly sharing Le Grange’s joy at the winner’s circle, more so when he had been relatively confident the $60 shot could overturn most predictions.
“Like Ricardo said, you’ve got to know this horse well. He’s very very lazy and you’ve got to keep him on his game,” said the Mauritian jockey.
“I was able to get him in a handy spot, and as the field was not the strongest, I took a chance with him, and he was very gutsy to the line.
“Well done to Ricardo and Mr Crabbia on this win.”