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Posted 2022-02-26 18:38:43  
Katak Wins Again in Singapore

South African import Katak has well and truly put behind the disappointment of his early Kranji showings with an emphatic win in the $100,000 Kranji Stakes A race over 1600m on Saturday.

The five-year-old entire by Potala Palace was chalking up his second win at Kranji, back-to-back off his local breakthrough in a Class 2 event over 1400m five weeks ago.

After landing with impressive credentials – unbeaten in five runs, and the Cape Winter Series Triple Crown to his name (all Group 3) – many assumed our local horses would soon be in for a belting.

But after his first four starts last year, other than a second to Hard Too Think in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m), the general consensus was he had flattered to deceive.

Maybe he shouldn’t have been judged too hastily, but there were growing concerns trainer Ricardo Le Grange, the Shirtliffs and good friend Bryn Ressell might have a dud on their hands unless he turns his form around.

Le Grange ignored the brickbats, kept his head down, bum up, and was rewarded for staying in Katak’s corner. The South African mentor even described the untapped potential that Saturday’s win may unleash as “scary”.

“His mannerisms are more those of a real racehorse now, he has improved so much,” said Le Grange.

“Danny (Beasley) jumped off saying he is looking for a mile and a quarter and even a mile and a half.

“He’s so much easier to train now, and to see him win like that and still cry for more ground, it’s pretty scary.

“It’s always a pleasure to have Danny on, he rode the horse beautifully, and it’s exciting times for Marsh and Guy (Shirtliff) and Bryn.”

While the first win was forged with some degree of challenge, the second win had shades of a one-way traffic the moment Beasley drove him to the lead.

Heartening Flyer (A’Isisuhairi Kasim), his last-start runner-up, did keep him honest throughout, but in reality, Katak was always under a firm grip and travelling on the chewy.

When Beasley slipped some rein to the $8 hotpot at the top of the straight, all doubts whether his last win could be a one-off were allayed from the moment he skipped away.

Heartening Flyer ducked back to the fence as he tried to mount the same stout challenge as last time, but the pull in weights in Katak’s favour made it an uphill task this time around.

Heartening Flyer ducked back to the fence as he tried to mount the same stout challenge as last time, but the pull in weights in Katak’s favour made it an uphill task this time around.

It was longshot Sacred Croix (Wong Chin Chuen) who finished the best among the beaten brigade, wresting second place from Heartening Flyer by one length, two lengths astern. The winning time was 1min 35.61secs for the 1600m on the Short Course.

Beasley, who was handed the reins at only the first win, for one was delighted about being in the right place at the right time.

“This is the South African horse back to the fore,” said the Australian rider.

“As Ricky said before, his first prep was too quick. He needed more time to settle in.

“He has improved a lot from his first win just from the way he travels underneath you. Ricky has done a wonderful job with him and you can feel it every time you ride him.

“There is no doubt he needs further, up to 2400m, but unfortunately, we don’t have such races here.

“He wouldn’t be out of place in New Zealand and would also be competitive over a mile and a half in pretty good company in Australia.

“He will only get better with more racing. There’s still more improvement to come out of him.

“Ricky and (assistant-trainer) Jacci (de Tert) are having a great season, and this horse, 100%, is no exception.”

In six starts, Katak has now taken his local record to two wins and one second for stakes earnings that have just tipped over the $200,000 mark for the Vasco Stable.

Heartening Flyer ducked back to the fence as he tried to mount the same stout challenge as last time, but the pull in weights in Katak’s favour made it an uphill task this time around.

It was longshot Sacred Croix (Wong Chin Chuen) who finished the best among the beaten brigade, wresting second place from Heartening Flyer by one length, two lengths astern. The winning time was 1min 35.61secs for the 1600m on the Short Course.

Beasley, who was handed the reins at only the first win, for one was delighted about being in the right place at the right time.

“This is the South African horse back to the fore,” said the Australian rider.

“As Ricky said before, his first prep was too quick. He needed more time to settle in.

“He has improved a lot from his first win just from the way he travels underneath you. Ricky has done a wonderful job with him and you can feel it every time you ride him.

“There is no doubt he needs further, up to 2400m, but unfortunately, we don’t have such races here.

“He wouldn’t be out of place in New Zealand and would also be competitive over a mile and a half in pretty good company in Australia.

“He will only get better with more racing. There’s still more improvement to come out of him.

“Ricky and (assistant-trainer) Jacci (de Tert) are having a great season, and this horse, 100%, is no exception.”

In six starts, Katak has now taken his local record to two wins and one second for stakes earnings that have just tipped over the $200,000 mark for the Vasco Stable.

STC

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