Friday, 13 April 2012
: Running Tall's debut win on March 25 certainly came with many upsides but trainer Patrick Shaw thought he still had to pass a more challenging test before booking his ticket for the Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1400m) next Sunday.
| Running Tall|
Photo by Singapore Turf Club
Shaw did have the last two Legs of the Series (including the Group 1 Singapore Guineas over the mile) in mind for the Stratum
three-year-old the moment the Lucky Stable sent the former Melbourne winner of the Group 2 VRC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) to his yard.
But a start in the second Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge is a different kettle of fish from beating the likes of Baby Face
and Fat Bobo
in a Novice race over 1200m as a first Kranji assignment.
“I'd like to see him race in something stronger than a Novice race to have a better idea where he stands,” Shaw said.
“Sunday's race has a few better horses like Shane Baertschiger's debut winner Bahen
. If he runs well, then we'll go for the 3YO race next Sunday.”
Shaw was not on hand to see Running Tall
's winning debut as he was then in Dubai for Rocket Man
's run in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, but the race replays have suitably impressed the South African mentor.
“He was a bit green as he was new to the track, but he's improved since,” said Shaw.
“(Jockey) Barend (Vorster) said he was very happy with the way he has come on since his first run. The 1400m trip will suit him even better.”
Shaw said backing up the chestnut within a week was of little concern.
“He's the kind of horse who does not need plenty of work to get fit,” he said.
“That's why he won first-up. I'm not worried at all about backing him up.”
Vorster is equally adamant the extra mileage can only benefit Running Tall
in gaining his fitness edge towards his more important mission next week.
“We had initially planned to take him straight to the second Leg, but we thought he needed another run so we can consider his options better,” said Vorster.
“He really needs to go quite well on Sunday if he is to stand any chance in the second Leg.
“Right now, he's well within himself and seems to have improved from his first run, but he's running against better horses this time, especially Bahen.
“We'll see how he comes through this as we need to have the confidence ahead of a race like the 3YO series where the field will be even stronger.”Running Tall
is by the same token the last winner that both Shaw and Vorster have to their names, (by coincidence also their 11th winner for 2012). While many think the pair are struggling to reproduce their prolific 2011 season, the statistics are not ringing the alarm bells yet.
The current figures actually more or less mirror the same performances achieved by the pair at the same point in time last year when Shaw eventually went on to capture the premiership and Vorster finished runner-up.
By April 13 last year, Shaw was on 14 winners on the log while Vorster was faring slightly better on 17 winners. The reason behind the slow start: New blood.
“Just like last year, I was prepared for a slow start. We've gone for a clean-up again, making way for new horses, and those that were successful last year have gone up in ratings,” said Shaw.
“I have 28 new horses this year and only five have run. Once they get going, we should be able to pick up the pace, as long as they perform.”
One horse Shaw is not about to include in his restructuring programme anytime soon is without a doubt Rocket Man. After the Viscount
six-year-old's heroic second to Krypton Factor
in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 31, it is now onward and upward to a race he will be bidding for a fourth consecutive success, the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m) on April 29.
“He's not out of quarantine yet but he's already doing some slow work and is looking very good,” said Shaw.
“The Lion City Cup is his next target.”