After seeing his Race 1 runner Hooga Net getting caught near the line by Nova Classic at Kranji last night, trainer Leslie Khoo was quickly compensated in the next race with Grand Knight.
A beaten favourite in three of his five earlier starts, Grand Knight received only luke-warm support in the $85,000 Restricted Maiden event over 1,400m on turf but delivered in grand style.
The $30 chance neatly stole the race with a nice all-the-way victory from the late-closing $14 favourite Cracking Tottie, who himself is now a beaten fancy three times from six starts.
Although he was not one of the quickest away after jumping from the widest gate (No. 11), jockey Ryan Curatolo managed to secure a two-length lead on settling down.
Stardice, the $26 second favourite, flew the gates and was early leader until Grand Knight took over the running.
He then saw $126 outsider Giant Killing creeping up on his outside. The two of them got up to about half a length of Grand Knight at the 1,000m mark. Then came I Am The Boss, River Superstar and Cracking Tottie scraping the paint.
Curatolo got Grand Knight kicking again and was nicely clear on straightening. Champion jockey Vlad Duric got Cracking Tottie to the outside for an unimpeded run. His mount came on well but the bird had flown. Grand Knight won by 13/4 lengths in 1min 23.23sec.
Khoo reckoned Grand Knight has got the ability but blamed himself for rushing his charge earlier chasing the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge Series after Grand Knight ran a good debut second.
"The horse has got ability. He won a trial in New Zealand and also won one in Singapore, but I pushed him too hard," said Khoo.
"You could see that I ran him too close in his first few runs. I was trying for the Three-Year-Old Series but he couldn't make it. He lost weight, from 480kg-plus first start to 460kg-plus. It'll be good if he puts on more weight.
"He's a bit highly strung and a bit green. He will settle down with experience. I think he can handle a bit more distance on breeding."
Curatolo was not overly concerned with the wide draw.
"I know my horse has got some speed. He sometimes shied away from other horses, so they decided to take him to the front and he responded very well," said the French jockey, who is leaving for Macau today to ride in the Macau Derby.
Friday's South Africa results
1st 9 Sweet Aroma ($64-$12)
2nd 13 Tree Of Life ($14)
3rd 6 Nicoletta ($55)
4th 2 Countess Cantabria
Forecast $122 Place Forecast (9-13) $34, (6-9) $98, (6-13) $115
Tierce No winner ($3,740 jackpot carried forward to next race) Trio $1,913 Quartet No winner ($660 carried forward)
1st 8 Mary O' Reilly ($11-$6)
2nd 6 Incredible Tune ($7)
3rd 5 Hartleythree ($15)
4th 7 Lateral's Flash
Forecast $8 Place Forecast (6-8) $5, (5-8) $14, (5-6) $13
Tierce $92 Trio $21
1st 3 Captain Parker ($25-$9)
2nd 5 Pomaceous ($5.10)
3rd 1 Adalberto ($8)
4th 4 Catchthemaster
Forecast $13 Place Forecast (3-5) $5, (1-3) $6, (1-5) $5
Tierce $76 Trio $12 Quartet No winner ($382 carried forward)
Scratching: 7 Western Rock
1st 6 Masterful ($65-$23)
2nd 5 Flying Fort ($13)
3rd 7 Tundra (No 3rd dividend)
4th 4 Coal
Forecast $65 Place Forecast Refund Tierce $1,210 Trio $37
Scratching: 3 Sheru
1st 8 Counting Stars ($51-$17)
2nd 6 Icarus Flight ($8)
3rd 5 Oriental Tiger ($9)
4th 7 Captain Marooned
Forecast $39 Place Forecast (6-8) $15, (5-8) $15, (5-6) $13
Tierce $560 Trio $84
Quartet No winner ($838 carried forward)
1st 5 The Goon Show ($14-$6)
2nd 10 Royal Fort ($6)
3rd 4 Shallcross ($10)
4th 9 Open fire
Forecast $8 Place Forecast (5-10) $3, (4-5) $9, (4-10) $11
Tierce $62 Trio $19
Scratchings: 1 Mahir, 2 Chanone's Theory, 8 Swordofthespirit
Result of Race 7 was not available at press time. Log on to www.turfclub.com.sg for the results.