American Grade 1 Winner Chinchon Scores Emotional Singapore Victory
Singapore Turf Club
Singapore may be a long way from the United States in terms of miles, but American Grade 1 winner Chinchon made it clear on May 20 that the world is rapidly becoming a smaller place.
The French-trained, Irish-bred son of Marju burst down the stretch at the Singapore Turf Club’s Kranji Racecourse to prove much the best in the $2.4-million Singapore Airlines International Cup (G1), scoring his second Grade/Group 1 win following his victory in the 2010 United Nations Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park.
Chinchon returned a generous $18 to those who backed him in North America.
The victory also was meaningful on a personal level for his connections. His trainer, Carlos Laffon-Parias could not be there to witness the horse’s triumph as his father had passed away in Spain just two days previously.
The Spanish-born trainer had arrived in Singapore on May 17 to apply the finishing touches to Chinchon at Kranji, but had to fly back to Seville the following night after receiving news of his father’s passing.
Despite the harrowing time the Laffon-Parias camp was experiencing, there was still a job to be done for Singapore’s biggest racing event, the conclusion of the Singapore International Racing Festival. Laffon-Parias’ wife Patricia stayed in Singapore to take over the helm and ensure that the final preparation, which had been well-executed by the ground crew headed by work rider Jean-Luc Hanot, went without a hitch through the race.
Chinchon, whose last run was a disappointing eighth behind Japan’s Rulership in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) in Hong Kong last month, was making his second attempt in the Singapore Cup after finishing fifth to Gitano Hernando in last year’s edition. All week, the mood build-up in the French camp had been bullish given that the horse had been working a lot better than he did in 2011 and was highlighted by a strong turf gallop on May 16.
Laffon-Parias’ foundation work certainly paid off in the way Chinchon smartly outstayed his rivals in a field whittled down to 11 following the early scratching of Always Certain and the withdrawal of Godolphin’s City Style after he was fractious in the starting gate.
In line with his come-from-behind style, Chinchon was settled by Hong Kong-based, French-born jockey Olivier Doleuze in the rear division on the rail, and he seemingly relished the rain-affected track, which had been downgraded from yielding to soft. At the same time, Singapore-based Flax and Waikato set the pace at the head of affairs.
Among the internationals, favorite Zazou looked the most likely to succeed, enjoying the run of the race in third place on the rail, while the other French raider, Dream Peace, was the worse off, trapped out four deep for most of the way.
Hong Kong’s well-regarded trio of Zaidan, California Memory and Thumbs Up were strung out in the second and third tier, biding their time before launching their challenges.
But coming into the stretch, Flax was showing no signs of abdication, and at the 400-meter (about two-furlong) mark still looked a strong chance of giving the Newbury Racing Stable a fairytale double on Singapore’s biggest racing night after they captured the sister race, the KrisFlyer International Sprint (G1), with Ato.
The Cup however slipped through their hands as the foreign charge headed by Zazou, Zaidan and Chinchon started to make rapid progress. The Waldemar Hickst-trained Zazou was the first to shorten up, however, while the John Moore-trained Zaidan—a Kentucky-bred son of Street Cry—kept plugging away.
But it was Chinchon who reigned supreme in the end as he powered away in the last 100 meters to post a three-length win over Zaidan.
Flax finished first among the locals as he battled gamely for third, a half-length back, with Zazou fourth, another 2 ¾ lengths away. The winning time was 2:04.43 on the rain-soaked turf.
“This is for Carlos. We are all thinking of him now,” said Patricia Laffon-Parais. “We are very, very happy Chinchon won, but it’s also sad (Carlos) is not here to celebrate with us. I’ve already called him to tell him the good news and he’s absolutely delighted.
“The horse was in a much better condition than last year. He didn’t work well then but he was a lot more relaxed this year,” she continued. “We had already worked out a prerace plan to get back early. During the race, he pulled a little around the first turn, but he then relaxed well. Olivier rode him beautifully.
“I can’t really remember last year’s race, but I know he was a bit unlucky and took a few bumps in the running.
“Our team at Kranji has done a fantastic job and I say ‘merci’ (thank you in French) to all of them,” she added.
Patricia Laffon-Parias flew back to France after the race, but not before saying the Chinchon team would be delighted to return to Singapore to defend their crown next year.
“We would love to come back. I’m not sure what his next plans are, though,” she said. “We’ll celebrate the win for now and go back to France and leave it to Carlos and the owners to decide."
Chinchon, who finished second in the 2011 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth last July to Teaks North after racing four-wide, did not run again until he won Prix Exbury at Saint-Cloud in March prior to going to Hong Kong for owners Sarl Darpat France.
Doleuze, who rode Chinchon only once in his previous 26 starts (a fourth-place effort in the 2009 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong, which was captured by Presvis) said winning the Singapore Cup ranked high among his achievements, especially as he was the first jockey to add his name to the KrisFlyer at its inaugural edition in 2001, won by the Criquette Head-trained Iron Mask.
“I am very honored to be able to ride in this beautiful race and especially for Carlos, who lost his dad last Friday, which makes this even more emotional,” said Doleuze. “This race is very special for me as the Singapore Turf Club is one of the first clubs to give me the chance to ride in Asia. I was also one of the first to win the other race (KrisFlyer) and now I’ve won the big one.
“I still can’t realize what is happening,” he added. “I’ll come down to earth in a day or so.”
Doleuze said much of the success probably hinged on the decision of whether to track just behind 2011 Hong Kong Cup (G1) winner California Memory in the early stages of the race or to hug the rails.
“I took my chances. When you get a second chance, you have to be confident and that was what I did tonight,” said Doleuze, who rode many times at Kranji in the early 2000s. “I took the risk to be on the inside during the race and Felix (Coetzee on California Memory) improved in front of me and took me into the race and we could finish off well.
“With the cut out of the ground, it made a big difference, and he was travelling like the winner the whole way,” the jockey added. “In the straight, once I was able to switch him out to the outside, he accelerated very strongly.”
Ato Steps Up for Shaw, Wins Trainer's Second KrisFlyer Sprint
Singapore Turf Club
After having to scratch reigning Singapore Horse of the Year Rocket Man from the $800,100 KrisFlyer International Sprint (G1) earlier in the week, trainer Patrick Shaw earned his second consecutive triumph in Singapore’s richest dash with his back-up runner, Ato, on May 20.
A South African-bred four-year-old colt by Royal Academy, Ato came through with the best performance of his career, giving Shaw a moment of déjà vu after winning the KrisFlyer 12 months earlier with Rocket Man.
Ridden by South African jockey Barend Vorster, Ato scored by 1 1/2 lengths over Mr. Big and paid $42.20 to his North American backers. English-based galloper Secret Asset finished 1 ¼ lengths away in third.
The start to the race was delayed when Yin Xin burst through the front of the gate before being reined back in by jockey Danny Beasley. Invincible Ash had to be backed out of the gates and was vetted after drawing next to him.
On the second attempt at the start, Yin Xin jumped quickly to take over the early running, with Mr. Big in close attendance along with Ato and Captain Obvious.
Before the runners had completed their run down the backstretch, Better Be The One—who had been trapped wide from his outside draw—went forward to sit three wide outside of the leaders, while Vorster was getting a cozy run on Ato behind them.
Turning for home, Yin Xin began to tire and Mr. Big took over on the rail while Vorster came to the outside with Ato, who engaged Mr. Big in two-horse war over the final 200 meters of the 1200-meter (about six-furlong) race.
With blinkers off on this occasion, Ato was able to focus on his opponent and finished stronger, despite the younger Mr. Big—Singapore’s champion juvenile last year—being renowned for his fighting qualities.
Secret Asset, who had been in a midfield position ,tried valiantly to run down the two local gallopers, while Captain Obvious kept trying all the way to the line without ever being a winning chance.
When Rocket Man came out of the race with a nagging ligament strain, Shaw knew he had an able replacement in the form of Ato.
“Great run, I always gave him a big chance,” said Shaw. “He has always been a bit of an unlucky horse and always been the bridesmaid, but on the day, today, we had him spot-on.
“He was a very good second choice to have in the race. It was a pity about Rocket Man, but it goes like that and he is safe in the box.
“It was a great ride as we planned it out,” he added.
Shaw had said earlier in the week that there had been consideration of gelding Ato after his KrisFlyer run, but those plans will now be shelved
“Obviously, now he is going to be a stallion,” said Shaw. “I’m sure now the owners (Newbury Racing Stable) will take him home as a stallion for sure. Otherwise I would be cutting him. I would have liked to have done it but now definitely not.”
Shaw explained why he took the blinkers off Ato for the race.
“He has been travelling a bit keen at his last runs,” said Shaw. “He waits for them to get past him then he starts to get them. So I said to Dennis (Evans of Newbury Racing Stable) that I am taking a chance and taking them off and let him see what is around him.”
Vorster said the race panned out as he expected. The pace suited and he was able to track into the fray at the right moment.
“There is no description to display how I feel,” said Voster. “Singapore has been great to me and it is great to get one of the big races on a night like this.
“I just thought he was really, really well in himself, and last week he had a nice sharp gallop. You know he is a horse that thinks a lot and tonight he was thinking about the right thing. He never looked at anything sideways.
“I pulled him away from Mr. Big and went away from the inside to the middle and he just kept extending and I was just hoping that nothing was coming at me. He was just finding the line so well.
“On a night like this, my thoughts are with Rocket Man back in his box, but to win a race like this it is really one of the big things.
“Like Patrick said to me, do not get stuck on the fence. So, I had to make a decision to get out, and I saw that Danny was not travelling wide and I still had plenty of horse under me.
“To Dennis and his wife, they have been great owners to Singapore as well and I just want to congratulate them and say thank you to them for giving this horse to us and for us to be able to get this race for them.”
Ato improved his record to seven wins in 19 starts with eight placings, and he boosted his earnings to over $900,000. He has raced exclusively in Singapore, with his previous best effort a win in the 2011 Woodlands Handicap during a season when he also placed in the classic Singapore Guineas.
South African Evans said he would speak with Andreas Jacobs of Maine Chance Farms back in his homeland about standing the soon to turn Southern Hemisphere five-year-old as a stallion back in South Africa. Maine Chance bred Ato, who was sold for $93,925 at the 2009 Emperor’s Palace National Yearling Sale.
“There could be a chance we could send him somewhere like Australia or New Zealand, where he is probably better known,” said Evans. “Andreas Jacobs of Maine, Chance Farms owns 25% of the horse. So it is something we will have to speak about.
“I offered Andreas 25% of the horse, just like I have offered another big owner Gaynor Rupert 25% in some yearlings that I have purchased for here by an outstanding new (South African-based) sire Trippi (who was acquired from the United States by Rupert).
“I want these people to get exposure in Singapore and other parts of the world but I also want the exposure for Singapore as well,” Evans said.
The victory of Ato in the KrisFlyer is one of the most exciting moments he has experienced in racing, Evans added.
“I’m in dreamland. I can’t believe this is happening,” he said.
Krypton Factor, the KrisFlyer favorite who defeated Rocket Man in the $2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) on March 31, finished fifth under Kieren Fallon.
“The track was too soft, but anyway, I knew I was in trouble at the start already,” said Fallon. “I had to take hold of him and he just did not travel at any moment. He did not make up any ground and was a beaten horse from a long way. He just can’t act on this ground.”
Several rainstorms that hit Kranji Racecourse during the day added to moisture on the turf course that had built up from rain earlier in the week and led to a rating of “yielding.” Several jockeys said their mounts did not relish the conditions.
“I had a good trip and she travelled well, but when I asked her, she never picked up on the ground. We know she needs fast ground and the rain came at the wrong time,” said Gary Carroll, who rode 2011 Irish highweighted sprinting mare Invincible Ash to a seventh-place finish in the field of nine.
Super Colt Sweeps Singapore Triple Crown
Singapore Turf Club
Only some kind of magic could take short-priced favorite Super Easy from a seemingly untenable position to first across the wire in the $396,350 Singapore Guineas on May 18—and he was lucky he had the right jockey on his back, Joao “Magic” Moreira.
Unbeaten in his nine previous runs in Singapore, the gallant New Zealand-bred three-year-old by Darci Brahma was not only aiming for the perfect ten but also the clean sweep in the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge (he already had won the Three-Year-Old Sprint and Three-Year-Old Classic) and a tidy bonus of $117,823.
But all these prizes looked like they had flown out the window when the Michael Freedman-trained colt ran into dead ends from the top of the stretch to the 200-meter mark. Moreira, considered as the only jockey at Kranji who can make a broomstick win, suddenly looked like he had run out of ideas as he tried to duck and weave in the traffic jam in search of daylight.
After Super Easy (the odds-on favorite who paid $2.60) settled on the rails from his barrier No. 1, the sit-and-wait tactics were the script most had anticipated, but when he drifted back to third-last at the 800-meter (about a half-mile) mark, the plot suddenly looked very difficult for Super Easy.
Totality (Soo Khoon Beng), who had led the 13-horse field from the jump, was coming under siege from many upon reaching the stretch. El Milagro (John Powell) and Let’s See Action (Greg Cheyne) were engaging those warriors, while the other fancies, Shuttle Man (Saimee Jumaat) and Better Life (Alan Munro), were starting to charge home from the rear.
Super Easy had taken closer order from the rear, but then began his litany of woes from the 300-meter mark.
Pressed on by Shuttle Man on his outside, he switched to the inside, but was first disappointed for a run when the gap closed. He rolled back out across heels, but again could not find any way out. In the process, he copped a bump from another runner.
As Super Easy went for a gap between Let’s See Action and El Milagro, he again got squeezed, but as interrupted as his momentum had been, it burst back into full cry inside the last 100 meters as he finally found clear galloping room. Stablemate Cash Luck (Stephen Baster) was also running on, but class and a touch of freakiness combined to see Joy N Happiness Stable’s champion Super Easy home by a neck.
Cash Luck, who was making his first start following an unsuccessful Dubai campaign, ran a super second for a stable 1-2 sweep. Shuttle Man battled on gamely for third, another three-quarters of a length away while Better Life—a daughter of dual American classic winner Smarty Jones—did her best work at the finish to run fourth, another 1 ¼ lengths away. The winning time was 1:36.57 on a yielding turf course.
Freedman’s lofty opinion of Super Easy reached unattained heights at the winner’s circle as he lavished praise on a colt he just felt “privileged” to train.
“I’m just privileged to train a horse like him,” said the Australian handler who notched his sixth group stakes win for the year, four of which were provided by Super Easy.
“At the 200-meter (mark), I didn’t think he could get a run. But both him and Joao showed their true champion qualities at that moment.
“Joao has always had faith in him and he did not panic. He’s such an amazing rider and they should show what he did to apprentices' school. It goes to show things don’t often go to plan in racing, and a good jockey should always come up with Plan B and C.”
Freedman said Super Easy would now go for a well-deserved break after emulating the Triple Crown feat of Better Than Ever (2010) and Gingerbread Man (2011)—and his early campaign as a four-year-old may begin under other skies.
“I’ll sit and chat with the owners what his next plans are, but I’ve always believed he’s good enough to go for the Melbourne Spring Carnival,” said Freedman. “I’ve always believed he’s as good as any of the good ones that I have been associated with in Australia.”
Pitstop Cruises to Aushorse Golden Horseshoe Win
Singapore Turf Club
After the heart-breaking experience of seeing his pair of Dark Matter and Awakened fill the two minor placings behind eventual Singapore champion juvenile Mr. Big in last year’s inaugural Aushorse Golden Horseshoe, trainer Steven Burridge turned that agony to ecstasy when he landed the first prize at this year’s renewal with Pitstop on May 18.
The Australian conditioner, who had not secured a win in any of the previous six legs of the Singapore Golden Horseshoe series, snared the one that mattered most—the final leg, a domestic Group 2 event over 1200 meters (about six furlongs) that carried a purse of $256,560 and a bonus of $106,041, which included two bonuses that had jackpotted after Kiwi-breds Super Good and Yin Jie had won two of the legs.
Pitstop is fully qualified for the bonus as he is a Magic Millions purchase bought for $22,514 at last year’s Magic Millions National Yearling Sale at the Gold Coast before being sold for $102,630 at the Magic Millions National Horses in Training Sale last October. By exciting first season sire Zizou, a son of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Fusaichi Pegasus, and from the stakes winning Al Hareb mare Pottinger, the two-year-old is a half brother to the Malaysian stakes performer Blesswithspeed.
The Magic Millions connection goes one step further as Pitstop was bought by the Asian representative of the horse sale outfit, Burridge’s son, Wade.
A flying debut second to Yin Jie for jockey Azhar Ismail three weeks ago, Pitstop—who had the top Malaysian jockey aboard again—came off a cushy spot on the rails courtesy of a good jump from barrier No. 2 to land the money by a head from the Leslie Khoo-trained debutant Easy Man (Greg Cheyne) by a head.
Third place went to another newcomer prepared by Khoo, Hogwarts Express (Saimee Jumaat).
Pitstop, who crossed the finish line in 1:11.31 on a yielding turf course, paid $9.60 to win in North America. The 10-7 exacta with Easy Man returned $118.60, and the 10-7-15 trifecta with Hogwarts Express returned $1,124.
Easy Man, a two-time barrier trial winner, lived up to that form by jumping the best to show the way in the big 16-horse field. Noted speedster Rory (Soo Khoon Beng) came spiralling over from his even wider draw to eyeball him from the backstretch to the top of the stretch, where Easy Man was soon being hailed the winner as Rory folded.
Favorite Super Good (Joao Moreira), who had held third spot in the box-seat for most of the way, seemed unable to muster an acceleration at the 300-meter mark, while Pitstop looked a touch hamstrung in traffic right behind.
But once Azhar saw daylight between runners, Pitstop started to reel in Easy Man, who fought back with plenty of gameness under Cheyne’s urgings on the inside.
The winning post loomed up and Pitstop lunged to get his head on the line, handing Burridge a much-deserved victory in the domestic Group 2 juvenile feature, which was by the same token his first significant success since Captain Obvious won the Jumbo Jet Trophy last September.
An emotional Burridge dedicated the win to a host of people, including Wade and his staff, but his voice shook the most when he mentioned his senior track rider Darren Murphy, recently injured in a trackwork accident.
“(Pitstop has) had an interrupted preparation and it’s great to see him win tonight, but I have a special thought for Darren who broke his leg recently,” said the Australian-born trainer.
“He was the one who rode the horse (Pitstop) all the time. I rang him up this morning and I told him ‘Mate, I think we can get the money.’
“He said, ‘Let’s hope so.’ I’d also like to thank Wade for buying the horse. He always had a high opinion of his ability.
“(Pitstop) drew wide at his first run and had to go around runners. He couldn’t get a run on the inside, and switched to the outside which was not the best part of the track, but it wasn’t Azhar’s fault.
“He’s obviously trained on, and tonight we decided to ride him quiet and have the last crack at them. He’s only a small horse but he’s a bulldog.”
Burridge did not fail to highlight the great association he has had over Azhar over the years.
“We go a long way. I’ve known him since my riding days in Malaysia and he was still an apprentice then,” said Burridge. “He’s won a lot of races for me. We’ve had a great association over the years and let’s hope we have the same luck on Sunday.”
Azhar rode a Group winner for Burridge last year – Speed Baby in the Group 1 Patron’s Bowl and will ride the same horse in Sunday’s $2.4million Singapore Airlines International Cup (G1).
“(Pitstop) was a little unlucky at his last start when he ran into a wet patch on the outside,” said the seven-time Malaysian champion jockey. “In the home straight, he didn’t know what to do for a while, but when a run came up on the inside, he finished very well.
“He’s only a small horse but he’s got a big heart. I don’t think it mattered if he was on the rails tonight as he’s got such a big heart and would have worked home from wherever he is.”
Joao Moreira, who rode the highly fancied Super Good, said the Fastnet Rock colt, owned by the same interests as champion three-year-old Super Guru, said the juvenile was in a winning position during the race before finishing seventh.
“We had a good run through the race but he stumbled badly with 200 meters to run and just couldn’t finish it off,” Moreira reported.
Preview: Hong Kong Challengers, Krypton Factor Strong in International Races
Singapore Turf Club
After months of speculation and anticipation, the Singapore International Racing Festival comes to a crescendo on May 20 with the 12th running of the $2.4-million Singapore Airlines International Cup (G1).
The race has stood the test of time, and with an honor role that reads like a “Who’s Who” of international racing, will continue as the pinnacle of Singapore racing for many years to come.
So who will add their name this year to the list of outstanding winners?
Apart from the mighty OUZO in the inaugural running of the event in 2000, the internationals have dominated, and unless a Singapore-based warrior like WAIKATO can pull off a minor miracle, 2012 will be heading elsewhere.
Hong Kong has sent three strong runners—CALIFORNIA MEMORY, THUMBS UP and ZAIDAN—with all looking like playing a part somewhere in the late stages of the 2000-meter (about 1 ¼ miles) race on turf.
CALIFORNIA MEMORY, winner of the 2011 Hong Kong Cup (G1), failed in this race last year, but connections will be confident a better preparation and game plan sees the flashy gray with excellent chances to improve.
Experienced South African jockey Felix Coetzee takes over from regular rider Matthew Chadwick, and all eyes will be on where the Kentucky-bred son of Highest Honor settles, and if close enough on turning for home, how well he finishes.
But of the trio, THUMBS UP has received the most attention from track watchers and analysts alike, and the Casper Fownes-trained seven-year-old is expected to be one of the horses to beat.
Brett Prebble rides and will need luck after drawing gate 11, but the top Aussie/Hong Kong-based jockey knows Kranji Racecourse well—he won the KrisFlyer International Sprint (G1) on Sacred Kingdom three years back and is a regular visitor— and all looks good for a result.
However, Germany champion ZAZOU is the top pick on his effort in the world’s richest race, the $10-million Dubai World Cup (G1) on March 31 at Meydan.
His form prior to a credible fifth in that race was probably good enough to be the top pick anyway, but when you consider that two of the last three Singapore Airlines International Cup winners have come through the Dubai World Cup, ZAZOU—who will be carrying the same colors as 2011 champion GITANO HERNANDO—could be a good thing.
Of the others you have to respect a horse like CHINCHON, a Grade 1 winner in the United States.
One of two French-based representatives (Canadian Grade 1-placed filly Dream Peace is the other), CHINCHON was unlucky in this race last year, and with everyone a year wiser in the camp of trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias, a win would not surprise.
CITY STYLE, for the mighty Godolphin stable, rounds out the international contenders and is certainly worth consideration on his excellent form from Dubai in 2012, including placing at Group 1 level at his last two outings.
Of the locals, WAIKATO has raced above himself for the last four years, including his dead-heat for third in this race last year, and he leads the local pack, but the wise money would be leaving most, if not all of the Kranji-based runners, out of calculations.
In the 2012 KrisFlyer International Sprint (G1), there has been one major story this week: the defection of injured Singapore Horse of the Year Rocket Man, winner of the 2011 Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) and runner-up this year to current KrisFlyer favorite KRYPTON FACTOR.
When news broke on May 15 that Rocket Man would not run, the race changed complexion dramatically.
KRYPTON FACTOR—whose connections were hoping for a double knock-out of the Singapore champ after beating him in Dubai—were both disappointed and relieved that a tough race had been made much easier.
The “Bahrain Bullet” easily has the best form leading into this, and given the fact he is the only horse that has beaten ROCKET MAN he should win, with none of the local hopes seeming to have a chance to be close to him.
Obviously travel is the biggest issue but KRYPTON FACTOR might not need to be at 100% to beat most in this field.
Only two other internationals are in the race, SECRET ASSET and INVINCIBLE ASH, and both have solid but not spectacular form leading into this event.
Both would need to have travelled very well—and indications are they have—but you would think they are each-way hopes and more on a par with the local’s chances than KRYPTON FACTOR at his best.
The locals are led by BETTER BE THE ONE, and with Joao Moreira on board, the More Than Ready gelding looks ready to show his best and a podium finish is likely.
The Michael Freedman-trained five-year-old has international form on his resume as well and that will hold him in very good stead.
Of the other Kranji-based horses, last year’s juvenile champion MR. BIG has a slight weight pull as a three-year-old and his fighting qualities suggest he will keep a few rivals honest, and ATO always races well and could also finish in the mix.
Preview: ‘Super’ Runners in Singapore Guineas, Golden Horseshoe
Singapore Turf Club
The much anticipated International Festival weekend in Singapore gets underway on May 18 with a mixed-track meeting of nine races featuring the Singapore Guineas, a domestic Group 1 event at 1600 meters (about one mile) on turf.
The third leg of the Three-Year-Old series, the Guineas is worth $394,707, and if the race goes according to script, the connections of odds-on early favorite SUPER EASY can add a nearly $120,000 bonus to their growing prizemoney total since the New Zealand-bred Darci Brahma colt already has won the Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic and Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint. With a win, SUPER EASY’s total bankroll would be about $1-million.
While the field shapes up as one of the best assembled in recent years for the event, SUPER EASY—unbeaten in nine starts in Singapore—is the only horse punters can consider a “must” for topping their tickets and the race looks like a case of figuring out who will be second.
The Smarty Jones filly BETTER LIFE and the younger Japanese-bred SHUTTLE MAN, a son of Taiki Shuttle, with 55.5kg and 53kg, respectively, under the weight-for-age conditions, will have admirers for exotics and both looks set for big races.
BETTER LIFE should benefit from what was a solid effort behind SUPER EASY over 1400 meters (about seven furlongs) in the second leg of the Three-Year-Old series and she is expected to run a big race.
A horse that might provide value in exotics is New Zealand-bred MICHAEL. With form at weight-for-age level over 2000 meters (about 1 ¼ miles) around the likes of older Singapore domestic Group 1 winner WAIKATO to his name, the Laurie Laxon-trained gelding might just have last crack, especially if the pace gets interesting early.
The co-feature of the day, the $256,560 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe over 1200 meters (about six furlongs) on turf, is more wide open with many unknowns making the juvenile domestic Group 2 affair difficult to predict.
Local trainer Leslie Khoo has entered EASY MAN and HOGWARTS EXPRESS, and both have winning chances.
HOGWARTS EXPRESS has the benefit of race experience in New Zealand to her name, and if she runs up to that form might prove hard to beat in her Singapore debut. The daughter of Elusive City finished third in the Little Avondale Stud Wakefield Challenge Stakes (G2) in her native land.
EASY MAN, a gelding by Ishiguru also bred in New Zealand, will be making his first career start.
A couple of horses with early wins to their names, SUPER GOOD and RISING EMPIRE, appear to be the benchmark for the race.
SUPER GOOD, a son of hot young Australian-based sire Fastnet Rock, has Joao Moreira on board and that is always a good pointer to a horse’s winning hopes. Further, SUPER GOOD may find the current rainy weather to his liking as he won his first career start on yielding turf on April 13.
RISING EMPIRE, a gelded son of former American-based sire Dehere, scampered to victory by 4 ½ lengths in his career debut on May 4 over 1000 meters (about five furlongs) on Polytrack.