Renzo wins for SAF combination Le Grange and Crabbia

Argentinian two-year-old Renzo backed up his recent solid debut third by going two better in the famous Rocket Man black and red maltese colours of prominent South African owner Fred Crabbia in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1200m on turf on Saturday, but it still left a bittersweet taste to his trainer Ricardo Le Grange.

The South African handler launched the son of Orpen alongside another Crabbia-owned Argentinian-bred juvenile in an identical RM race three weeks ago, Raffie (x Hurricane Cat), coming away with a near-perfect result of Raffie and Renzo filling the minor spots in that order behind Amazing Breeze.

Le Grange was entitled to feeling all buzzed up about their future at Kranji, but unfortunately, Raffie, the one his gut feel told him had more potential, went amiss.

To see Renzo step up to the plate was just the tonic the stable needed to partly erase the downer.

“Renzo had improved very much after his debut third. His trackwork had sharpened up so much,” said Le Grange.

“He’s a horse who will furnish into a lovely horse and he will get even better over more ground. There’s a lot of class about him.

“Unfortunately, the win is one of those bittersweet stories of horse racing. He went amiss after his race, he fractured a sesamoid.

“Between Renzo and him, he was the more precocious one. He could be out for a year or two, but we hope we can get him back.”

While the tone at the winner’s circle was subdued with Raffie in the wars, Renzo’s win was not without other feelgood factors.

“Both Renzo and Raffie are named after Fred’s grandchildren. They would all be up early to watch the race in South Africa,” said Le Grange, who has been associated with the steel businessman from the days he was assistant-trainer to Patrick Shaw in South Africa, even before heading East.

“They will be thrilled with that win. Fred has been a wonderful supporter over the years, and it’s great to see him get the younger generation involved in horse racing.”

Le Grange had words of praise for another youth, even if he is probably a little more seasoned than the Crabbia bunch – two-time Singapore champion apprentice jockey Simon Kok Wei Hoong.

“Simon did nothing wrong with Renzo at his first run. He was always going to stay on and he’s given him a nice positive ride today,” said Le Grange.

Kok, who later brought up a riding double aboard the Kuah Cheng Tee-trained Sky Eye ($19) in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 1000m speed dash, was indeed at his faultless best on the $27 shot, bouncing him to the front and just nursing him along from debutant Greatham Girl (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin).

Renzo was still green as grass as he started to pull clear in the home straight, but nothing was coming from behind. Sneaking up along the rails, Illustrious (Oscar Chavez) was the one who pinched second place two and a half lengths away, a nose from Dragon Sands (Hakim Kamaruddin).

Right on the outer, Eight Ball (Matthew Kellady) was looming as a big threat of finishing over the top of them to finally break his maiden tag, but he peaked on his run to finish fourth another neck away, a head from Greatham Girl, who will surely make further headway from that first run. The winning time was 1min 11.58secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.

Renzo is a full-brother to another one of Crabbia’s, Water Rocket, a four-time winner who now races in Class 4 company. It would appear the Rocket Man owner had initially registered the names of both Renzo (Water Pick) and Raffie (Water Jacket) in the same “Water” theme – even Water Rocket was originally Water Channel, but the doting grandfather later changed his mind – blood is indeed thicker than water!

Renzo’s win was bringing up a race-to-race double for Le Grange after Sayonara (A’Isisuhairi Kasim, $55) took out the $30,000 Class 5 Division 2 race over the Polytrack mile one race before. It was the Shocking five-year-old’s second success but the first for Le Grange following his transfer from former Kranji conditioner Cliff Brown, who is now based back in Mornington, and will saddle his first runner at Ballarat on Sunday, newcomer Yaphet, his first runner in Australia in 14 years.

“It’s great to see Sayonara finally get a win for us and (owner) Guy (Shirtliff),” said Le Grange.

“Harry knew what he was doing with that horse. He’s taken it upon himself to come to the stable every day to work him.

“The plan has come together, and he also gave him a very good ride.”

Sayonara now boasts in excess of $60,000 in stakes earnings with approximately two thirds of it having been banked in by his previous owner Nick Johnston.

Singapore Turf Club 

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