Saraab opens account at first mile outing

The step-up to the metric mile seems to have finally unlocked the winning flair in Argentinian-bred Saraab.

The Heliostatic three-year-old chestnut raced three times at Kranji, between 1200m and 1400m, every time running out of distance to fare any better than the couple of placings he managed to garner.

But Friday’s $60,000 Class 4 race over 1600m proved to be the race that fits like a glove.

Ridden by Oscar Chavez for the first time, in replacement of Nooresh Juglall, suspended for two days from a careless riding ban incurred at his recent Durban July trip, Saraab was always camped on the girth of race-leader Ausone (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) before going for broke upon straightening.

Favourite Saraab (Oscar Chavez) makes no mistake at his fourth Kranji outing, picture Singapore Turf Club

The $14 favourite worked home solidly even with chasers like Gannet (Alan Munro), Big Banker (Olivier Placais) and Racing Talent (Moon Se Young) swarming around and looking like they could topple him.

But Saraab showed no signs of letting up as he eventually fell in safely by one length. Gannet won the battle for the minors, a neck ahead of Big Banker. The winning time was 1min 39.93secs for the 1600m on the Polytrack.

“He’s been knocking on the door. He raced and won over the mile in Argentina (when known as Sammy The Way) and over longer as well, but tonight was his first time over the mile here at Kranji,” said winning trainer Ricardo Le Grange.

“He is getting better with more racing and it was great to see him win tonight. A big thank you to the Al-Arabiya Stable and all my guys at the stable.”

Chavez, who has struck a bit of a winning partnership with the relatively new outfit, said Saraab was “overdue” for that first Kranji win.

“He was overdue for a win. I got on for the first time, and to be honest, any rider would have won on him tonight,” said the Panamanian-born jockey whose other Al-Arabiya wins this season are Ahmar (Mark Walker) and Ettijah (Le Grange).

“He was hanging out a bit under pressure, but when the others came to him, he kept digging deep. It was a courageous performance.