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All hail King Louis in El Dorado Classic
Michael Lee

Emerging stayer King Louis finally put his sizzling turn of foot to winning effect in a big race when he claimed the $150,000 Group 3 El Dorado Classic (2000m) in dominant fashion on Sunday.


Often luckless at his prior assignments, especially in feature events, when produced a touch too late, the four-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro was clearly a cut above the rest this time round when new partner Glen Boss set him alight on the outskirts of the capacity 16-horse field at the 600m.


Those big massive strides were in full cry as he whipped around them, even if ahead of him, King Louis still had a few resilient subjects to subdue.

King Louis (Glen Boss) storms home to post a brilliant win in the El Dorado Classic.

Makanani (Marc Lerner), who drew first blood when lamplighter Sun Hoplites (Lim Aun Kean) faded out of contention, was showing plenty of ticker as she edged forward, but the Japanese-bred mare’s time in the lead was rather shortlived.


Second-elect Sky Rocket (Vlad Duric), who was ridden more positive than usual, tried to poke through upon straightening, but was not quite making a good fist of pegging Makanani back. He eventually knocked up to finish a disappointing eighth.


Suddenly, the likelihood one of the big bobbers could upset the applecart became real when Letitgo (Mohd Firdaus), a two-time winner but in Class 4 Non Premier company and who was the first to show the way upon despatch, showed cheek worth a whopping $645 as he collared Makanani at the 300m. The better-backed Dicton (Lyle Hewitson) was also in with a shout as he came ducking and weaving with a surging run, but neither would have the last say.


After plotting his usual path in the third tier of the race, King Louis was given the wriggle-on when he launched a searching run out wide from the 800m. Once Boss flicked on the afterburners at the point of the turn, coronation day had finally arrived for trainer Ricardo Le Grange’s crown prince.


Showing his customary electric turn of foot, the $17 favourite swamped all and sundry inside the last furlong enroute to a most deserved first ‘black type’ win, one-and-three-quarter lengths clear of a most stunning first placegetter in Letitgo. Keeping up a strong gallop right through, Dicton lunged at the line to finish a meritorious third another short head away.


Mr Spielberg (Hugh Bowman) got warm late, making headway from the rear to just miss fourth place by a nose from Makanani, for a solid run that has put the writing on the wall for the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) on November 11, not for just him, but probably for the quartet ahead of him as well.


Le Grange was over the moon a horse he had always had a lot of time for, had finally reaped the lofty reward that had eluded him for so long. However, the South African handler, who has won three El Dorado Classics as Patrick Shaw’s assistant-trainer - Ricoco (2009), Lizarre (2011) and Quechua (2014) - did have a tinge of sadness in his voice as he spared his first thought to someone who was not part of the winning team on Sunday – stable jockey Barend Vorster.


The South African rider has teamed up with King Louis at all his nine Kranji starts bar one, including the two wins, but was unfortunately replaced in the wake of his last-start defeat when second to Sky Rocket in a Kranji Stakes B Polytrack race over 1600m on September 2.

Crowning glory: (from left) jockey Glen Boss, trainer Ricardo Le Grange and owner Steve Levar celebrate
their success with King Louis.

“There are a few people I’d like to thank, but the first one would be Barend. That’s his horse, he wasn't on today, but that’s racing,” said Le Grange who was at a training double after Cadet (Nooresh Juglall) won the $80,000 Stepitup 2015 Stakes, a Kranji Stakes C Division 2 race over 1000m earlier in the day.


“He’s been trialling and galloping well and he was absolutely brilliant today. I also have to thank my assistant-trainer Jacci (de Tert) and the boys who ride the horse at home.


“A big thank you of course to Steve Levar and (wife) Christine for giving me the opportunity to train such a good horse.


“In my opinion, he was dying for the trip. Everything has gone to plan today, and hopefully, he gets a trouble-free preparation to the Gold Cup.


“I would also like to thank the Thai owners (Kajorn Petch Racing Stable No 3) of Cadet, my other winner. They have been very patient with this horse after he had knee chip surgery to his near front leg.


“Nooresh gave him a 10-out-of-10 ride, and the horse was very brave to the line. He’s won two-from-two at his comeback now, which is fantastic.”


A suitably impressed Boss jumped off by saying King Louis’s burst was “dynamite”, a quality which he, however, said fizzles out a little on the alternative track.


“He got beaten on the Polytrack at his last start. It didn’t suit him, but unfortunately, Barend lost the ride” said the Australian jockey.


“The further I got on this horse, the better he got. I started my move early as I didn’t want to be left with too much to do when the speed came on at the 600m.


“I used his big strides to go around and his turn of foot was just dynamite. The distance is not a problem, he’s a good horse for the future.”


With that third win added to his six placings already under the belt, King Louis sees his bank account swell past the $450,000 mark for Levar’s Royalty Racing Stable.