Trainer Ricardo Le Grange is chuffed no end his first two-year-olds to go around will carry a set of silks that have been omnipresent in his racing career since his days as Patrick Shaw’s assistant-trainer: Bernard Kantor.
Well known as a prominent horse owner back on his home turf in South Africa, Kantor continued to lend his support when Shaw moved to Singapore in 2001. Emirates Singapore Derby winner Our Falstaff and Singapore Classic winner Palace Line spring to mind, along with the useful My Son and more recently, the likes of Vertical Start, Barnato and Terms Of Reference (in partnership with Mark Yong) are other fine specimens to have borne the pink and blue diagonals.
Le Grange has since branched out on his own in December 2016, taking over the baton from Shaw after he retired. Meanwhile, Kantor had stayed loyal with Le Grange by maintaining the same string with him, but has this year opened his wallet at the sales again.
In the shopping cart came two Argentinian-bred two-year-olds by Pure Prize, made famous at Kranji by the deeds of his best advertisement, Shaw’s 2014 Singapore Gold Cup winner Quechua. Being the savvy financial investor that he is, Kantor named them Pennywise and Streetwise.
They will be at their Singapore baptism of fire in the $90,000 Kranji Nursery Stakes (1000m), the first Leg of the Singapore Golden Horseshoe series for two-year-olds, in a field of 12 juveniles who feature only two to have raced – debut winner Drone and his third-placed rival Giant Killing.
“I think they’ll both be better over a trip as they have a miler pedigree. They’re both at a stage where a first run will bring them on,” said Le Grange.
“It’s their first run and they will be running under the lights for the first time. So, a lot will depend how they take that first run.”
Le Grange does not normally like to split his runners, and would be none the wiser - pun fully intended - with babies with zero history. He did, however, concede that Pennywise might have a slight edge on his stable companion.
“At this stage, Nooresh’s (Juglall) horse, Pennywise is a bit more forward than Streetwise. I’ve put a pair of winkers on him to sharpen him up while Streetwise will have a shadow roll,” he said.
“If things go his way, Streetwise can also come on at the end. Drone is the horse to beat as he is the horse with exposed form.
“But whatever my two horses do, they will come on from that run.They are both the sorts who will make it as nice three-year-olds.
“I’m above all delighted to have two new horses for Bernard as he’s been such a great supporter of Pat’s for so many years, and now myself.
“I’m happy to see him buy new fresh horses and let’s hope those two bring him success.”