Wednesday, 13 June 2012
: Trainer Steven Burridge keeps cementing his reputation as a big fan of Malaysian racing as he sends yet another runner across the Causeway this weekend.
| Speed Baby|
Photo by Singapore Turf Club
The 2010 Singapore champion trainer, who honed his craft in Kuala Lumpur before relocating to Kranji in 2005, has enjoyed considerable success with his yearly forays in Malaysia since 2010 when he took out the RM1 million Group 1 Penang Gold Cup (2200m) with Risky Business
who was ridden by 2007 Singapore champion jockey Noel Callow.
With the mercurial Melbourne rider aboard again, Risky Business, who had incidentally taken out the Longines Singapore Gold Cup (2200m) with Glen Boss up a month earlier, went on to add the RM 1 million Group 1 Piala Emas Sultan Selangor (2000m) in Kuala Lumpur in June 2011.
Bolstered by the pinpoint accuracy with which he was scooping up the big races up North, Burridge soon went back for more. He however had less luck in the Penang Gold Cup last December when Hint
ran fifth, but Irish Coffee
came close to landing the RM1 million Group 3 Malaysian 2011 Magic Millions Classic Group by running second to Good Baby
The same race eluded Burridge the year before when his other horse Alacarte
also found one better in Hot Butterfly
Burridge, who put the polish on Malaysian champion galloper Ballistic
during his time as assistant-trainer to Tan Soo Beng, has perpetuated his close links with Malaysia in the “reverse direction” as well. Backed by a solid network of contacts there, Burridge was often approached by Malaysian owners to train their horses, none more famous than Captain Obvious
and Speed Baby
It is precisely with Speed Baby that the Australian is heading up for his “yearly pilgrimage” this weekend. The son of Fastnet Rock
, who arrived in Kranji a six-time Malaysian winner before adding only one Singapore win, but which certainly glossed up his resume even more – the Group 1 Patron's Bowl (1800m), is entered in this Sunday's Piala Emas Sultan Selangor and leaves Singapore for the Sungei Besi racecourse in Kuala Lumpur today.
Speed Baby last raced in last month's Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup (2000m) but the rank outsider never stood a chance in the strong international line-up to beat one home. But Burridge had already earmarked the Piala Emas as his next target should he pull up well – and he did.
“He's a very good horse but I think he's past his prime now,” said Burridge. “I did tell the owners to consider sending him to KL to run him in the big race.
“I won that race with Risky Business last year. It's worth RM1 million and that's always good prizemoney to go for.
“He will have to come back here (Kranji) because of quarantine, but he may go back up for the Coronation Cup or Penang Gold Cup later.”
The Group 1 Coronation Cup (1600m) happens to be the last race Speed Baby won in Malaysia (Ipoh) before moving down South. Raced by the Baby Stable, the $727,000 stakes earner will attempt to pick up where he left off - land another Group 1 success at his Malaysian comeback and bring his earnings closer to the magic million mark with the helping hand of “King” Callow.
“He had a tough race in the SIA Cup, but he's pulled up very well and I think Sunday's race will suit him very well,” said Burridge.
“Noel, who rode two winners (Count Zerpour
and Californian Jet
) in KL last weekend, rang me and accepted to ride Speed Baby.”
Speed Baby will however be meeting a strong field made up of recent Perak Derby winner Mr Ambassador
, Selangor Gold Cup placegetters Eagle
and Banks' Gift
, as well as ex-stablemate Alacarte, who has found a new lease of life since resettling in Malaysia, scoring two wins from as many starts for Kuala Lumpur-based trainer Richard Lines.