Successful horse owners Andre Lim’s and Hong Ying Kwee’s well-documented love affair with the Ishiguru’s gathered further momentum when short-priced favourite Easy Man scored second-up on Friday night.
Made famous by their association with Singapore Three-Year-Old champion Super Easy, the duo have also enjoyed plenty of success with progeny of the late leading New Zealand sire. Names like Northern Lion, Niceone, Super Guru roll off as some of the moneyspinners who race for Lim and Hong under either the Ninetyseven Stable or Joy N Happiness Stable banner.
A debut winner of the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe everywhere but the winning post when Pitstop edged him out by a head, Easy Man, a two-time trial winner, was unsurprisingly all the rage at his next run, in the $65,000 Restricted Maiden (2&3YO) race over 1100m on Polytrack, especially with leading jockey Joao Moreira returning from a four-meeting suspension to take the ride, and duly delivered.
Easy Man and Joao Moreira goe one better at Easy Man's second run at Kranji, picture Singapore Turf Club.
The Ishiguru two-year-old jumped smartly from his barrier No 3 to show the way but immediately had company with Kaiser Bright (Anandan Subramaniam) and Wairakei (Danny Beasley) from the 700m.
Kaiser Bright eventually dashed away on his lonesome, but Easy Man quickly gathered him in once he got into overdrive at the top of the straight. Well ridden by Moreira, the favourite gave his numerous backers no anxious moment as he drew clear to score by 2 ½ lengths from Rory (Barend Vorster) with Kaiser Bright holding on for third another one length away. The winning time was 1min 5.68secs.
“The owners love the Ishiguru's. It’s a shame the sire died, and this one is from his second-last crop,” said trainer Leslie Khoo, who prepares all the Ishiguru's owned by Lim and Hong.
“He reminds me a lot of Niceone, but this one is a spitting image of his dad. He’s still very green as he was looking around a lot and had his ears pricked in the home straight.
“I think he will go over more ground in the future.”
Moreira, who himself has often been associated with the aforementioned progeny of Ishiguru, predicted a bright future for Easy Man.
“We knew from his short head loss in a Group race that he had ability,” said the leading jockey.
“He was not the best out of the gates, but he travelled very relaxed for me. At the top of the straight, he gave a strong kick to chase the other horse.
“I just had to give him a quick reminder on the shoulder to keep his mind on the job. All credit to Leslie and congratulations to the connections.”
Easy Man, who returned the minimum dividend of $5.30, cost NZ$60,000 as a two-year-old.