Friday, 23 September 2011
: The current two leading stables in Singapore this season so far dominate the feature event on the card tonight at Kranji, with a staggering five of the seven runners set to do battle.
The seventh event on the card is a S$125K Open 2200m on the turf and the race may not be the sedate canter and sprint home that it first look
ed when the fields were finalized.
Laurie Laxon has three of the runners and the most likely leader again in Gordon Roberts, which got away with murder last start over 1900m courtesy of a Joao Moreira special, but he is not on it this time.
Moreira will ride the stablemate and surefire favourite Martial Art, with this gelding a strong closer and better suited if the pace is maintained in the race.
Quinta De Lago makes up the Laxon trio and is usually an off pacer too but it can loop a field midrace and apply some heat or take of early across the top and ensure the stayers thrive and the sit and sprinters do not survive.
I think Laxon would prefer a constant and solid tempo for all his runners and interestingly only one of them has won over 2200m before and that being Gordon Roberts (twice).
Each time the gelded son of Encosta De Lago
set the pace or after being headed went around and grabbed the lead again, with his times being 2:17.06 and 2:18.04.
He will need to go quicker than that to win tonight you would think with the topweight in the race El Dorado having won in 2:14 even a couple a years ago.
Martial Art has won up to 2000m, which is his ideal trip, but has only run over further once in Singapore and four times in New Zealand when trained there.
The gelding finished a distant fourth over 2200m last October and a rival tonight in Maurice Utrillo ran second some two and a half lengths ahead but had 1.5kg less.
The other four runs over more ground came in New Zealand, when over 2100m it finished fourth, sixth and seventh at Listed and G2 level respectively then a fifth in the G1 NZ Derby (2400m).
It would be fair to say the jury is still out regarding him running out a stout 2200m but Martial Art needs the leaders to come back too him being an off pacer, so a solid clip but not a record breaker is required.
Gordon Roberts will be ridden by a rather slimmer looking Vlad Duric, who is riding lean and mean since and it is working a treat for the strongest whip rider at Kranji
Whether he can make the 50kg and do Jenny Craig fans proud is another matter but from a tactical standpoint he is the ideal rider for this Laxon runner in controlling the race tempo.
Benny Wooodworth rides the least fancied Laxon runner in Quinta De Lago, also by Encosta De Lago
, and he will most likely get to watch what unfolds ahead for most of the race unless instructed to do otherwise.
Laxon does seem to have the bases covered tonight, with a leader, a sit cold then unleash off pacer and a backrunner that can be used differently if required.
Patrick Shaw has two runners and one can race in or near the lead in South Easter and the other enjoys racing handy in Maurice Utrillo, so he will have a say on the tempo one way or the other.
South Easter has won up to 2011m, when trained by William Haggas in England, and since coming to Singapore has attempted no further than 2000m and won at 1800m and 1900m.
He is more a poly track performer at this stage but do not doubt the ability of this son of Galileo, as some of his blacktype wins in Europe came over names we all know and have seen and recognize these days from the headlines.
His first win as a three-year-old came at Chester and saw him defeat Gitano Hernando, the horse that trainer Herman Brown came to Singapore with earlier this year and won the G1 Singapore International Airlines Cup (2000m) in May.
The second win for South Easter came at Kempton Park and notably the third horse home was December Draw, which is now the clear cut favourite to win the Caulfield Cup this spring and equal favourite for the Melbourne Cup.
I liked the recent barrier trial by South Easter to prepare for tonight having not raced for nearly three weeks and you know there is a touch of quality about this entire.
Barend Vorster is the first choice rider for the Shaw stable and surprisingly this is one runner he has not been atop too often and in fact in three rides has never even run a placing.
He will want to rectify that quick smart!
Maurice Utrillo is the other Shaw runner and he will relish sitting handy or just behind whatever sets the pace being a proven turfy already with four of his career six wins coming on the strathayr at Kranji.
Vorster was his regular rider with four wins and as many placings coming from thirteen times atop in his eighteen starts so far in Singapore.
I like the fact over 2200m that Maurice Utrillo has raced three times for two seconds and a miss in the 2010 G1 Singapore Gold Cup, where the opposition was a bit rich and it was raced on a damp track.
Saimee Jumaat rode Maurice Utrillo last start and keeps the mount.
This is the value win chance at 52.5kg, as the only runners he meets tonight to have beaten him home are the warrior El Dorado (which had only 1kg more and here will have 6.5kg more) and Martial Art (which beat him home by nine lengths but had 7.5kg less and tonight will have just 2.5kg less if Moreira can get down to 50kg).
The other two starters in the race are El Dorado, which is a big race stayer and he loves the turf but whether he can carry 59kg here and give away such vast sums to his rivals is the concern.
Logic says he cannot and is getting ready for the 2011 Singapore Gold Cup but never doubt an eight-race winner and a titan of the Kranji turf.
That leaves us with the wildcard in the race namely King Faalcon, which is a good stayer having won at 2400m three times and a turfy through and through.
He seems to go around twice a month without fail and the poly track runs almost always end in finishing way out the back.
However this horse is so fit and after a full claim could have just 46kg on his back and could do something out of the ordinary instead of sitting back and getting further back.
I could see a move made on this midrace at least and why not with such a lightweight?
Enjoy the race and premiership battle between Shaw and Laxon, as the winner last year in Steve Burridge has jogged up behind the pair with perhaps the drop on them.