Le Grange keeps ball rolling for Super Tycoon

Trainer Ricardo Le Grange knew what he had to do if Super Tycoon was to become an asset to his yard – lose his prized assets.

A three-time barrier trial winner before his Kranji debut, Super Tycoon could not follow suit in three starts (all in Restricted Maiden company) for his first trainer Daniel Meagher. He did run on at his last two, but the always well-supported O’Reilly rig was not quite living up to his early hype.

Super Tycoon was transferred to Le Grange in late March. After only one run when a closing third to Shoot Up High in yet another Restricted Maiden race, Le Grange had already homed in on the problem area – the nether regions.

Super Tycoon (Barend Vorster) thumps his rivals at his maiden win on June 30, picture Singapore Turf Club

Super Tycoon went under the knife. The gelding operation bore immediate results at his barrier trials.

If the undercarriage was lighter, so was the way he ambled to the line, as he went on to win the second in a canter.

The new gelding raced by Andre Lim (of Super Easy and Super One fame) and partners did not score at his next race, beaten fair and square by a better horse in Webster, but that much-needed first win was finally put to bed at his last start when he steamrolled his six rivals in a Restricted Maiden race over 1400m on June 30.

The crowned jewels have dropped and the penny has dropped, too, it would seem, but Le Grange remains cautious. This Sunday’s assignment in the $75,000 Novice race over 1400m against the likes of Magic City, Bear Witness and Ottawa will tell whether he has really turned the corner. Stablemate Situation will also be in the running.

“The biggest thing about his improvement was his gelding operation,” said Le Grange.

“I just felt he had to be cut after he had his first run for us. He was a lot more manageable and he had so much more confidence in the way he raced.

“We stepped him up in distance to 1400m and he finally won his maiden race. He’s pulled up well since and I was happy with his work.

“He’s a horse who should be able to go over longer trips, but for now I’m sticking to 1400m.”

Super Tycoon will again have winning partner Barend Vorster up and will jump from the plum barrier No 1 this time. Situation, who is having his second start for Le Grange and Thai outfit Falcon Racing No 7 Stable, is three gates away and will be ridden by apprentice jockey Wong Chin Chuen.

A one-time winner in Ireland (last year in Leopardstown in a Maiden race over 1200m), the US-bred by War Front made his Kranji debut after several forward barrier trials under the belt.

Not the best away, Situation, however, took full advantage of his inside draw to rail through and eventually hit the front upon straightening, but he weakened in the run home to finish fourth more than five lengths off the winner Friendship.

Le Grange expects a fitter Situation to come up with an improved run on Sunday.

“It was a very good run. He will be better over more ground and the turf will suit him better, too,” said the South African handler.

“He’s a new horse and I’m still learning about him. I hope he puts in a good run.”