Sunday, 12 June 2011
: A pair of Cliff Brown trained runners hold the purse strings for punters today in the S$125K Kranji Stakes A (1400m) and in a resuming Merchant this is most likely where the money-making lies.
Brown has Merchant
resuming again after its impressive fresh up win on April Fools Day, where the smart gelded son of Fubu won a Class Two easily over 1400m under 54kg.
Merchant has been a great money-spinner in Singapore winning five of his nine starts and placing two others times, with the worst the four-year-old has ever finished being a pair of fourths.
He loves the strathayr turf of Kranji and has won on yielding going too for anyone factoring in the ever-present rain aspect whilst doing form analysis of the race.
The last two starts of Merchant have both been fresh up affairs, so he is lethal in this state and the shrewd Brown has turned him out in magnificent order each time too his credit.
The effort two starts back for second at G3 over 1400m is significant, as it showed the class of Merchant and at the same time his potential too.
He gave the hotpot Better Than Ever one heck of a scare in the race by having the audacity to actually head him at the 300m before the champ came back of the strathayr mat to draw clear.
It showed me that Merchant was destined for much bigger deals and could mix it with the top shelf thoroughbreds of Singapore.
Today at 54kg from a good draw on the strathayr over 1400m in a fresh state it is hard to find anything to beat Merchant, with his rider in both outings this season Joao Moreira once again atop.
I am sure Brown would this season prefer to see how Merchant stands up to regular racing at the higher levels but has such nice horse on his hands here that time is on the side of both.
The fact he has had to trial Merchant three times before paying up on raceday/night again tells you the gelding had not yet sold Brown he is spot on again for another money-earning resumption.
He nominated the horse to run in the first leg of the Triple Crown for four-year-olds over 1400m last week but withdrew it before acceptance time and instead trialled it again.
I did think his two trials before that were unimpressive, so one could see all was not quite right.
Merchant has clearly ticked up some since and his trial last Tuesday was better plus Moreira rode to probably help Brown clarify a few things.
To be honest I am not sure Merchant is going as well as he was prior to either resumption run this season though such is the ability of the horse he can get away with it today and make the buyers rejoice.
Brown trained the sire Fubu (a dual G1 runner up) and his father Don bred it, so he knows the foibles of the breed very well.
If the gifted Merchant does not make the day of Brown then the stablemate Clint gives him a reason to feel lucky. Clint
has impressed in his career to date and the four-year-old looks to have furnished into another rising star for the Brown stable, with an already impressive sixty-six per cent dividend-paying rate from eighteen starts.
I felt his last start win over 1700m on the poly versus a Benchmark 74 field was such a dominant performance in slick time that a no-nonsense Clint will be seen for the rest of this year.
Clint has a super record on the turf, so in showing he can handle the poly too just adds more weapons to his arsenal.
Three starts back fresh up he finished third over 1400m on the turf behind stablemate Merchant and carried 4kg less, with his closing strength very eyecatching.
Today he will receive 3kg from Merchant but is probably going better than his stablemate in work in preparation and certainly trialled up super last week behind the smart Ato.
Moreira rode both Merchant and Clint at their last trial outings and would have had the choice, as he won on each last start too.
However the weight of Clint at 51kg means the natural lightweight Ron Stewart got the nod to ride him purely on that basis alone and it helps that he had been the pilot in five of its previous six starts too.
Clint has won on a yielding track, so is not a B grade actor when some rain comes into play however like most racehorses at Kranji if the track becomes very testing then they would much prefer to be in the their trailer (box)! Powerful Ruler
purely on his luckless last start fifth in the G1 KrisFlyer (1200m) behind the local legend Rocket Man is a huge win chance here as long as the footing is reasonable.
He should have paid a place dividend but at least was a part of Singapore history in that they produced the first five over the line in the Krisflyer for a fabulously famous finishing quintet.
Two starts back Powerful Ruler finished second under 57kg on the turf over 1400m to Keep Away in what was a very solidly run race and remember this was his lead up to the KrisFlyer.
Saimee Jumaat rode him two starts back and is back aboard today and is the rider that knows the horse best and gets the best results out of it too for trainer Brian Dean.
Six of the eight career wins on Powerful Ruler have been for Saimee and the 57kg today is not a problem for the strongly built son of Viking Ruler.
Interestingly we find on yielding ground that Powerful Rule has won twice and finished runner up once out of four times attempted but that is slightly misleading, as the footing was never that bad in any of those outings.
Three starts back he flopped over 1400m on still rated good footing but the turf at that stage of the meeting was anything but due to a downpour and the winning time of Waikato in the race showed it being closer to 1:24.
Watch the weather and track the times leading up to what is Race Ten here and it should make it easier to decide whether to give Powerful Ruler your fiscal vote by way of wager or not. Flying West
is weighted and drawn to be in the finish plus he revels on the turf and at the 1400m.
His three runs this campaign have seen him each time be a victim of either a wide gate and a hard run or receive no luck at the jump then get a tough trip and/or taken on throughout.
I saw his last start fourth under 59kg as a very gutsy effort and it was his first run for five weeks plus he had trialled up superbly ten days prior behind Rocket Man.
Yielding ground is manageable for Flying West
but anything worse and his chances start to plummet south, much like many in the field he will encounter today.
However he is more likely to cope on a cutting out track than most of his rivals and that is an advantage that may well come into play.
Bettors should know that Mr Timely
will handle a cutting out track but is suspect at the 1400m, so you need to factor that in despite this form runner having a good draw and a nice light weight. Legend
caught the eye last start in blinkers carrying 58kg and as long as the footing remains decent then this is the one for longer odds.
He drops to 54kg here and seems to have turned the corner after a back to the drawing board approach last start.
Legend was having his first run for a month, after taking on G3 twice and an Open field, and the lesser targets approach this time may well see the HK$4 million earner regain some status again.
Enjoy the feature race on the card.