Le Grange’s Senor Don Back With A Bang

Senor Don held off favorite Spirit Of Big Bang under a smart front running ride from apprentice jockey Yusoff Fadzli to score in Sunday’s $100,000 Rocket Man 2009-2012 Stakes.

The young Malaysian driver is driving in red-hot form these days.

Alongside Ricard Le Grange-trained Senor Don, he won aboard Speedy Missile ($44) and Charminton ($15) for his master trainer Donna Logan in the $70,000 Lim’s Cruiser 2017 & 2018 Stakes, a Class 3 Division 1 over 1200 race m and $50,000 Capablanca 2008 Stakes, a Class 4 Division 1 1200m race.

Senor Don fends off Spirit Of Big Bang in Class 1 race (Image – STC)

Thanks to his second triple of the year (the first was on July 9, when he won with Elliot Ness, Trident and Eagle Eye), Yusoff currently tops the Apprentice Jockey Premiership with 16 winners, four more as Iskandar Apprentice Rosman and Jerlyn Seow, who are in second place with 12 winners each.

This is his best result since he started riding in Singapore four years ago.

“Overall, I’m very happy with three winners today,” said Yusoff.

“I will continue the good work.”

Although the majority of his winners (14 out of 16) this year came from Logan, his good results have also led to more support from other coaches.

After winning on Lord Justice for trainer David Kok last Sunday, Yusoff has now ridden his first winner for Le Grange after Senor Don led the class 1 race from start to finish over the mile.

“I want to thank the trainer for giving me the chance to ride him,” Yusoff said.

“It’s my first time driving it and I was a bit surprised by its win because it has a bad draw.

“Ricardo told me to jump and then sit behind the speed if we can.

“But he was relaxed going forward. I think the lightweight helped him too.”

With the featherweight 50kg on his back, Senor Candy’s six-year-old son jumped right on the rabbit from the start, while stablemate Pennywise (Krisna Thangamani) settled on his outside.

After Pennywise rolled out, Senor Don ($51) put on a strong run down the straight under Yusoff’s urging to deny a narrow win to the quick-finishing Spirit Of Big Bang (Wong Chin Chuen), a four-time winner over the head.

Trumpy (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) stormed home late to finish another three-quarter length in third place. The winning time for the 1600 m on the short course was 1 minute 35.96 seconds.

Le Grange has set his sights on a second Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) for Senor Don on November 19 after his first victory on grass on Sunday.

The Chelsea Stable-owned gelding last ran in the staying feature for Big Hearted two years ago.

“A huge thank you to the Yong family, they never gave me any trouble or asked me why the horse wasn’t running,” he said.

“This little horse is running with a lot of confidence at the moment and now, largely because of the light weight, has his hands up for a chance at the Gold Cup.

“There’s still a long way to go. I have to keep him in one piece but he lowered the flag of some very smart horses today and I thought that was a great win.”

Although the big race is still some time away, Yusoff was already excited at the thought of riding Senor Don.

“Ricardo told me after the race that he would ask my trainer (Logan) to put me on this horse for the Gold Cup,” he said.

“I’m happy but hopefully then he can get a better draw because it would be better for him.”

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