What's in a name?
Well, it served as a very appropriate occasion for trainer Leslie Khoo yesterday, when he saddled his 400th Kranji winner with the aptly named Auspicious Day in Race 2.
"I've been waiting for the 400th winner for quite some time. I've been knocking on the door and, yeah, the name suits him well, today is my auspicious day. Hope there'll be more for me," said the former top local jockey.
Khoo, who spent several years in Ipoh, Malaysia, before returning to train in Singapore in 2008, was presented with a bottle of champagne by fellow-trainer Tan Kah Soon for his memorable achievement.
Auspicious Day was his 17th winner of the 2018 racing season. Khoo's best year was 2011, when he sent out 66 winners to be second to South African Patrick Shaw in the Singapore trainers' premiership table. Shaw won with 78 winners.
Auspicious Day may be a small horse - in fact, the tiniest in the field of 12 last night at 430kg in weight - but he had been honest without winning. From 13 previous starts, the three-year-old New Zealand-bred was second three times and third on four occasions.
Friday's South Africa results
1st 7 Seattle Mermaid ($7-$6)
2nd 2 Domremy ($9)
3rd 3 French Nobility ($6)
4th 1 Call Me Blue
Forecast $10 Place Forecast (2-7) $5, (3-7) $3, (2-3) $9
Tierce $34 Trio $9
Scratching: 4 Miss International
1st 3 Adalfieri ($43-$10)
2nd 6 Finley Hill ($30)
3rd 2 Adalberto ($5.10)
4th 8 Royal Fort
Forecast $291 Place Forecast (3-6) $58, (2-3) $6, (2-6) $30
Tierce $1,963 Trio $114
Quartet No winner ($2,682 jackpot carried forward to next race) Scratching: 1 Abramo
1st 7 Thermocline ($21-$8)
2nd 3 Dancing Ruga ($7)
3rd 2 Samurai Dragon ($7)
4th 1 Perfect Peace
Forecast $20 Place Forecast (3-7) $5, (2-7) $7, (2-3) $6 Tierce $128 Trio $28 Quartet $306
1st 1 Wemibono ($16-$6)
2nd 4 Royal Applause ($19)
3rd 7 Zettabyte ($17)
4th 9 Kounia Bella
Forecast $76 Place Forecast (1-4) $18, (1-7) $22, (4-7) $37
Tierce $1,442 Trio $235
Quartet No winner ($402 carried forward)
1st 4 Fools Garden ($14-$8)
2nd 6 Joking Dice ($13)
3rd 8 Equestris ($31)
4th 5 Russian Star
Forecast $27 Place Forecast (4-6) $12, (4-8) $27, (6-8) $55
Tierce $1,030 Trio $103
Quartet No winner ($588 carried forward)
Scratchings: 15 Mischievious, 16 Just Lucky
1st 1 Fire In The Belly ($16-$9)
2nd 3 Grape Vine ($16)
3rd 6 It Is Written ($26)
4th 2 Road To Indy
Forecast $35 Place Forecast (1-3) $13, (1-6) $23, (3-6) $32
Tierce $748 Trio $163
Quartet No winner ($1,974 carried forward)
1st 5 Wish To Land ($14-$7)
2nd 9 Apoc ($17)
3rd 2 King Django ($6)
4th 6 Golden Shamrock
Forecast $49 Place Forecast (5-9) $13, (2-5) $5, (2-9) $12
Tierce $209 Trio $43
Scratchings: 3 Three Balloons, 4 Jeremy
Result of Race 8 was not available at press time. Log on to www.turfclub.com.sg for the results.
His connections' patience were finally rewarded last night with a deserving victory in the $85,000 Restricted Maiden event over 1,400m, thanks to a beautiful ride by French jockey Ryan Curatolo.
The 26-year-old parked Auspicious Day in midfield, as I Am The Boss led from Wild Bee, with the first 400m in 24.71sec. He tailed the Michael Rodd-ridden $13 favourite Cracking Tottie.
Wild Bee overtook I Am The Boss on straightening but was in turn challenged and overtaken by Cracking Tottie at the 250m mark. Curatolo brought Auspicious Day up with a good run on the outside. On the inside, Turf Princess also made a bold bid. The two horses with momentum hit the front 120m out. Auspicious Day produced more to win by half a length in 1min 23.88sec. The second favourite, he paid $16.
"In fact, he's improving all the time and he has been knocking on the door. Today is his day and he won well," said Khoo.
Curatolo, who has formed a good partnership with Khoo since he started his Kranji contract, said: "I'm super happy for Leslie. He deserved all the credit and he did a very good job. This horse, today they went a little bit too fast for me. I took him back, I got the cover and placed myself in a good position, just behind Michael. I just followed him and he took me to the wire."
Curatolo went on to take the next race with another beautiful come-from-midfield win on the Daniel Meagher-trained $11 favourite Mystic Pride in the $45,000 Class 4 Non Premier race over 1,600m.
But the high-riding jockey's luck ended just as fast as it started. He was dislodged on the way to the start of the following race on the strongly fancied Lim's Rhythm. He sat on the Polytrack until being helped and was stood down. Lim's Rhythm was withdrawn.