Unbeaten in his country of origin, Argentinian import Eagle Eye was finally able to showcase his true potential with an imposing first Kranji victory in the $80,000 Class 3 Division 1 race over 1400m on Sunday.
Sent to trainer Ricardo Le Grange with the Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1600m) in mind, the son of Pure Prize (same sire as recently Le Grange’s deceased champion stayer Quechua) had only one prep run (ran second) leading up to the third Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge.
Eagle Eye was not so sharp. He ran 13th to Mr Clint, beaten more than 10 lengths off.
Eagle Eye (Barend Vorster) off to his first win at Kranji, picture Singapore Turf Club
Le Grange gelded him soon after, and the transformation was immediately noticeable – in his racing mannerisms that is.
He just got beaten a short head by Magic City in a Class 3 race over 1400m at his first-up run. Returning three weeks late, Eagle Eye hit the target to show that his past woes have been well and truly consigned to the rubbish bin.
Besides being cut, his surgical file had another tab under “wind”. He had to undergo an ulcer operation to his throat area shortly after his arrival from Argentina.
To Le Grange, all these operations coupled with a great dose of patience were richly rewarded on Sunday.
“After he got here, we saw he had an ulcer on his epiglottis. It turned out that the Club had just purchased a new laser equipment for such surgeries,” said the South African conditioner.
“It’s less invasive in that it’s performed on him while still standing, but under sedation. A big thank you to the surgery team for the wonderful job.
“He quickly recovered from that condition, but has been a bit unlucky in his races. Daniel (Moor) told me he didn’t enjoy the track (yielding) in the Guineas, and we were also too quick to get him to the Guineas.
“We were spot-on in gelding him. At his first run after gelding, he got checked at the top of the straight and that stopped his momentum.
“He will also be better over further. He is a talented horse and has a very bright future here.”
Vorster, who was at a race-to-race double having saluted aboard rising star Bold Thruster one race earlier, was suitably impressed with Eagle Eye’s maiden win at Kranji.
“We ended up hitting the front too early at his last start. Again he was travelling too easy today, and I didn’t want to get up there too quickly,” said the South African hoop.
“I waited for as long as I could and let him go inside the last 200m. He was inclined to go onto the rails but he just kept attacking the line very well.”
That Singapore account opener has taken Eagle Eye’s bank account to the vicinity of $75,000 for Thai outfit Kajorn Petch Racing No 6 Stable. A winner of three from three (1200m to 1400m) in Argentina, Eagle Eye who was known as Mr Tessio there, brought up US$27,699 in prizemoney to his previous connections.