Trainer Desmond Koh was not all that surprised after Mr Luck turned giant-killer again in the $125,000 Jamal Malik 2011 Stakes, a Kranji Stakes A Division 1 race over 1200m on Sunday.
The US-bred six-year-old did win two starts back, but two divisions down in a Kranji Stakes C race over 1100m and at long odds of $192. Most thought he would be out of his depth in a higher-grade race that also featured better-rated horses like Poseidon, Rafaello and Viviano to name a few – hence his three-figure quote again, though not as long as the last one - $121.
But Koh was quietly confident the Polytrack specialist had maintained his form even after his last-start defeat in a Kranji Stakes B race over 1100m. He thought the rise in class for the benefit of a massive drop in weight would be worth the gamble – and it all came off with flying colours.
Mr Luck (Wong Chin Chuen) strides past Rafaello (Nooresh Juglall) to take out the Kranji Stakes A
Division 1 race on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club
Carrying only 50kgs, the son of Kitten’s Joy always had the duelling leading trio of Raise No Doubt (Chin See Cheng), Lincoln Road (Matthew Kellady) and Al Green (Glen Boss) in his sights in sixth place before being stoked up for his run upon straightening.
Joint-favourite Rafaello (Nooresh Juglall) was the first one to step up to the plate when he came collaring the weakening Al Green at the 300m, but he had not reckoned with Mr Luck (Wong Chin Chuen) who was rattling home with a stinging run on the outside.
A short tussle ensued between the two horses, but the five-kilo pull in weights proved the telling factor as Mr Luck poked his head in front to go and salute by three parts of a length from a gallant Rafaello. Viviano (Vlad Duric) ran third another 4 ½ lengths away.
The winning time was 1min 11.23secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.
“The spell did him good. He came back in good shape,” said Koh, referring to his three-month break after his first 2018 outing in January.
“He won first-up and I thought his next start was not a bad run – he finished only two lengths off the winner (Royal Ruler),” said Koh.
“I decided to step him up in class for the light weight. The fast pace also suited him.”
With that win, reigning apprentice jockey Wong closes down the gap on leading apprentice Troy See. Wong now sits on 11 winners, four behind See.
Mr Luck may have popped two upset wins in a row, but he has overall proven to be a consistent and genuine performer for the Luck San Stable with seven wins and seven thirds from 27 starts for stakes earnings past the $330,000 mark.