Former top juvenile Charger improved on his resuming third by going two better to give his new trainer Theo Kieser a much-needed boost on Sunday.
The Dick Turpin colt was locked in a cut-throat battle with odds-on favourite and eventual winner Paparazzi at his first start in six months – his maiden run for Kieser - before he eventually weakened to finish 5 ½ lengths astern. It was in a Novice race over 1200m a fortnight ago.
Again ridden positively in the $60,000 Class 4 Premier race over 1200m, Charger did not take hold of his jockey this time, parked on the girth of stable companion Redoubt (Benny Woodworth) before being popped the question upon straightening for the judge.
Redoubt tried to skip clear but was quickly gathered in by Charger, who after levelling up, found another length under Juglall’s urgings, but was anything but out of the woods as a line of five runners came baying for his blood.
Favourite Imperial Falls (Michael Rodd) did have claims, but he could not quite put the race to bed. Australian import Heracross (Saifudin Ismail) was poking his head in after having to switch across heels while the next best-backed horse, Chocante (John Powell) and the resuming Sebastian Bach (Ryan Curatolo) were also throwing in their two cents’ worth.
But all their efforts came to nought as Charger was in no mood to surrender an inch of ground to anyone who tried this time, digging his heels in to prevail by three parts of a length from Sebastian Bach who edged Chocante for second place by a neck.
Heracross and Imperial Falls shared the fourth place another half-length away. The winning time was 1min 10.54secs for the 1200m on the turf.
The gutsy victory gave Juglall a riding double following his earlier win aboard hot favourite Nowyousee.
“The last run brought him on. I was very confident he could win today,” said the Mauritian jockey who was finally hitting his straps after a slow start to the new season.
“He was relaxed and even though it took him a while to unwind, he let down very nicely for a solid win.”
Kieser said he had also expected the Constance Cheng-owned galloper to make his presence felt second-up, especially after that first outing under the belt.
“He’s been a good horse from Day 1 and on his first-up run, he had to win today. I am very happy about that,” said the South African handler who was welcoming only his second 2018 winner after Monster Energy scored on January 7.
“Nooresh had him placed so well and he put in a strong run to the line. He is probably going for the 3YO series.”
The Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge is made of three Legs and begins with the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m) on March 30. The second Leg, the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1400m) rolls around on April 22 before we reach the grand final, the Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1600m) on May 18.
With that second win, Charger, who was previously handled by trainer John O’Hara when he was two, has now taken his stakes earnings close to the $175,000 mark for the Toast Trusts & J. Ho Stable.