Sunday, 15 July 2012
: The 2012 Emirates Singapore Derby looks a choice between two stablemates with one having upside galore and untapped while the other has the big race runs on the board already.
Do you go Red or Ginger or Beard or Bread from the Bruce Marsh stable?
Red Beard has had his odds trimmed markedly since Opie Boson decided that was his Derby mount over the proven Gingerbread Man, with the latter likely to pay overs for once having drawn the carpark.
The eleventh race on the card today is the S$1.15 million Emirates Singapore Derby over 2000m and this is the time-honoured classic for four-year-olds that every trainer and owners wants to win.
It is the culmination of patience and horsemanship along with being a stepping-stone towards possibly tackling the rich International and Gold Cups in the following years at Kranji.
Opie Boson came over for a hit and run mission for Marsh to capture the 2010 Derby atop Race Ahead and beat the then Desmond Koh trained New Rose Wood and Laurie Laxon prepared Intercept.
The two latter training names have a couple of starters this year and in particular one solid chance each, with Chase Me for Koh and Dujardin for Laxon.
However it is Marsh that holds the Derby key and Red Beard looks like he could be a topliner in Singapore for years to come so a big race at his first attempt almost seems destined.
His eight starts have returned six wins and two placings and he has all the bases covered from being by a stamina sire in Zenno Rob Roy and out of a damside family that is sprinting and wet track efficient.
The four-year-old is very solidly built yet has an explosive turn of foot and he can be ridden on the pace or cold so Boson has options.
The will to win is immense and Marsh makes no secret of how good he rates Red Beard and if he could have got a smoother Derby preparation the confidence would have scarily been even higher.
Red Beard will be third up today and rising 600m but such is the upside of the Auric Stable raced gelding that all involved do not see that as a stumbling block.
Boson rode Red Beard in a trial earlier the week and was clearly chuffed at how good he felt so his decision to go Red over Ginger is a judgement call.
He may even sport a flaming goatee if his Derby call proves correct!
The last start win by Red Beard was devastating as he put away the open class sprinter-milers in the Jolie's Shinju (she won the 2009 Singapore Derby) over 1400m.
It helped they went hard but the names he cast aside halfway up the run home are already Group winners and big race performers so he should be a welcome addition to the open ranks as a five-year-old.
Boson has ridden him twice on raceday and it is the second up win over 1400m under 57kg on New Years Day that probably planted the seed this is a Derby horse.
He crushed a tidy Class Three field and ran super time plus it was almost contemptuous at the line.
A middle barrier today gives Boson options and he would like a solidly run race as then his mount will travel on the bit just waiting for the boom button to be pushed.
Gingerbread Man was beaten fair and square last start in the G1 Patron's Bowl over a mile and many are jumping ship to stablemate Red Beard but never doubt class.
He has been there and done it in Triple Crowns and big races plus without any pressure or expectation today we could see Gingerbread Man shake and bake his rivals.
I feel certain he will be paying overs for once in his life having drawn very wide and the doubt at 2000m seems to be paramount in the minds of most punters.
It needs to be pointed out he is racing just his own age group here at set weights and does have a 2000m race placing this year.
Marsh wisely tried Gingerbread Man at 2000m in the Woodlands Classic over February and under 59kg he got beaten narrowly into second.
Poignantly the four-year-old raced outside the pace then Boson detonated him early in the run home to look home for all money only to be bombed on the line by Mitre Peak carrying 5kg less.
He gave away big chunks of weight in the race to some proven types, so do not doubt him now come the richest race for his age group.
Saimee Jumaat gets the ride and he has two Singapore Derby wins too his name with Ouzo and Par Excellence in 1998 and 1999 respectively for Malcolm Thwaites.
Last year he got Better Than Ever over from gate sixteen to lead a lap out for Laurie Laxon and was outfinished into second by the Cliff Brown trained and John Powell ridden Clint.
Brown will not like to hand up the Derby crown and he has two sound chances in Deep Pockets and Lightning Thief.
Deep Pockets last start hit the line hard for fourth in the G1 Patron's Bowl and looks to be peaking perfectly for his main aim.
Danny Beasley is sticking true with the gelding that he has won on four times before and interestingly it is raced by the Auric Stable, so they have Red Beard and this chance too.
Auric is from the latin word for gold in Aurum and they should strike some today.
Lightning Thief was an eyecatcher at his last two starts in the G2 Steward's Cup (1400m) and G1 Patron's Bowl (1600m) plus he has won third up it should be noted.
Powell will pilot and fittingly it will be his second ever ride on the galloper so he will be hoping for history to repeat, as exactly the same thing happened last year with Clint when winning the Derby.
Chase Me has looked a Derby type for a while and the time has arrived with Joao Moreira atop, so everything has fallen into place perfectly.
Three starts ago against the older horses in the G2 QE II Cup over 2000m his sixth screamed Derby type as he ran on stoutly from the back under 58kg.
He was two lengths from the proven Group warriors Waikato and New Rose Wood, with Flax third and that brave wee horse has since finished third in the G1 Singapore International Cup (2000m).
That is form you can trust back against your own age group only.
Moreira is nailing more Group races this year and would love a Derby in the resume that is bulging beyond belief since coming to Singapore.
Nandowra can roll along in or near the lead and the big horse will give them something to beat after just going under last start in the G1 Patron's Bowl,
It would make for a superb season so far for rider Stephen Baster, who is a G1 rider that can handle pressure.
Michael Freedman will have him spot on and it is a previous third up winner.
All this talk about gold makes one wonder if silver could be turned into just that today.
Silveron Wings is a backrunner but tremendous closer when the pace is decent and what a story it would be for rider Ivaldo Santana to win the Derby in his first Singapore season.
Bettors like a blowout to throw into their combinations in big races and also a little on can reap a good return, so your knockout runner is Joyful Heart Man.
He will stay no problems and has won on the turf plus rider K B Soo has scored on him before as well.
Bruce Marsh goes by his middle name, with his first name actually being Rangi, so it is fitting that a couple of Ranga's make up his main Derby duo in a Red and a Ginger.
Red Beard will be unders and Gingerbread Man overs but either can win.
Chase Me an each way chance and do not let the Brown pair of Deep Pockets or Lightning Thief get under your guard.
Enjoy an epic contest.