Smart sprinter Royal Ruler overcame a slab fracture to return an impressive winner first-up on Sunday.
The US-bred six-year-old by Roman Ruler had not been seen since his fourth place to stablemate The General on September 10.
X-rays revealed the reason behind his underwhelming runs at his last three starts. A slab fracture to his knee confirmed trainer Ricardo Le Grange’s fears something was amiss with the Tmen Stable-owned gelding.
Box-rest was the best medicine and 252 days after his last run, Royal Ruler bounced back to his brilliant best in the $100,000 Kranji Stakes B Division 2 race over 1100m on Polytrack.
Sitting three wide but always on the bridle throughout, Royal Ruler ($48) shaped up as a major threat when he came upsides favourite Al Green (Glen Boss) at the 300m.
Al Green tried to lift again, but Royal Ruler knuckled down to the task to prevail by half-a-length. Kingsman (Vlad Duric) rushed home late for third place another three parts of a length away.
The winning time was 1min 5.43secs for the 1100m on the Polytrack.
“I’m so rapt this horse won today. He had a slab fracture and we had to box-rest him for a long time,” said Le Grange.
“To come back from this and win, it was a huge effort. A big thanks to Mark and Emily Yong who never put me under any pressure to keep him going.
“He is a serious horse, and I knew these problems were niggling him. It came to a head and I’m glad he’s over it now.
“He was 16 kilos up, but you know what, he didn’t look it in the parade ring. He’s a very athletic horse and a big thank you to (assistant-trainer) Jacci (de Tert) as well.
“It was a strong positive ride from Nooresh. He’s riding in very good form at the moment.”
The Mauritian jockey is indeed riding on the crest of a wave. Earlier, he scored aboard the Kuah Cheng Tee-trained Alaranch ($38) in the $45,000 Class 4 Non Premier speed dash over 1000m, and on Friday night, he combined with Le Grange to land the first Leg of the Singapore Golden Horseshoe series, the Kranji Nursery Stakes (1000m) with Pennywise.
That night, his younger brother Tejash, who recently followed into his brother’s footsteps, also rode a winner at Port Elizabeth in South Africa.
“A big thanks to the team as they’ve given this horse every possible chance and time to come back to his best,” said Juglall who has consolidated his third spot on the ladder on 25 winners, seven behind current leader Vlad Duric.
“He ran a nice trial last week, and I knew he would be in with a shout when he comes back.
“I was happy where I was in third spot even if he was wide. But when JP slowed up the pace, he got a bit keen. I didn’t want to restrain him too much as he was back fresh and ready to go, and he just put it away easily in the end.”
With that ninth win from 29 starts, Royal Ruler has now taken his stakes earnings just a couple of thousand dollars shy of the half-a-million mark for the Tmen Stable.