Wednesday, 25 July 2012
: While most Singapore Derby winners are normally given a well-earned break after such a tough test, this year's winner Chase Me is backing up within two weeks of his resounding success in the Group 1 race to race in the $300,000 Group 2 Chairman's Trophy (1800m) this Sunday.
| Chase Me|
Photo by Singapore Turf Club
Though trainer Desmond Koh had actually never explicitly mentioned about a rest for his first Derby winner at the post-race interviews on July 15, a return within two weeks was at no stage on the cards.
But the $930,000 stakes earner has pulled up so well after his eight-length romp in the 2000m race sponsored by Emirates that the Chairman's Trophy suddenly became alluring to connections.
After discussing with the Super Trio Stable and jockey Joao Moreira, Koh decided it was worth bringing the Stormy Creek
four-year-old back to racing earlier than envisaged.
“Winning form is good form. He pulled up in great shape and I thought why not line him up in the Chairman's Trophy this Sunday,” said Koh.
“It will be a bit of a test facing older horses this time around, but he has raced against such opposition before and has done well.
“But he will also be up against some hard knockers like Waikato
, Flying Fulton
and El Dorado
this time, and it will be interesting to see how he goes.
“Joao worked on him on Track 2 (Polytrack) on Saturday and told me he felt good. He will gallop him tomorrow.”
From the Brazilian ace's glowing report of the horse he had long singled out as his Derby mount, it was clear he was in this new association for the long haul.
“He felt the same, if not even better when I rode him on the Poly,” said Singapore's two-time champion jockey and current runaway leader. “All will depend on his barrier draw as well.
“I respect many of his opponents like Waikato and Flying Fulton, but I'm confident he can measure up against these horses. When he ran in this kind of company in the QEII Cup, he was not quite at the level he is now.”
Just before tackling his own age group during the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge, Chase Me
did test his mettle in Open company taking on the likes of Waikato, Clint
, in the Group 2 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) and the Group 3 JBBA Moonbeam Vase (1800m), acquitting himself creditably every time.
But after picking up 14 points to see his ratings leap to 101 points after the Derby to stand as only the fifth highest-rated after Waikato (110), El Dorado
(108), Flying Fulton (108) and The Comedian
(104) in the Chairman's Trophy, which is a Weight-For-Age event, Chase Me will not be seen as an underrated challenger anymore – neither does his trainer think he is overrated.
”I think the 14-point increase for such a dominant win was a fair penalty from the handicapper,” said Koh. “I remember New Rose Wood
got 10 points for running second in the Derby two years ago.
“The 1800m on the Long Course will suit him. Whatever he does on Sunday, he is going for a break afterwards.
“The Gold Cup in November is his ultimate target, but I hope he does not earn too many points if he gets there as it is a handicap race. Anyhow, I won't worry about that now as Sunday's run is more important.”
The $1.35 million Group 1 Longines Singapore Gold (2200m) is the most prestigious handicap race on the Singapore racing calendar and will be run on November 11. The time-honoured race is also the third Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown Challenge which comprises the Group 1 Kranji Mile and Raffles Cup (1800m) as the first two Legs.
Koh does have the same designs on the Gold Cup with the third-placed horse in the Derby - Arowana Dot Com
“I always thought he would run a good Derby. I think he will be a good lightweight chance in the Gold Cup,” said the Singaporean conditioner.
“He's really surprised me with the way he has developed from a jump-and-run sprinter to a good solid middle-distance horse. He's by Hussonet
and I guess bloodlines don't lie."