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Duric makes his time in saddle Count

Countofmontecristo gave a fairly strong hint he may be back in form following a sparkling barrier trial win on Thursday morning.

Duric makes his time in saddle Count

Countofmontecristo gave a fairly strong hint he may be back in form following a sparkling barrier trial win on Thursday morning.

Countofmontecristo (Vlad Duric) returning from his Thursday barrier trial win.
Countofmontecristo (Vlad Duric) returning from his Thursday barrier trial win. Picture:Singapore Turf Club

The former Singapore champion three-year-old has not saluted for more than a year. He did not disgrace himself at his subsequent eight runs, all at Group level, the latest being the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (1800m) in which he ran on for fifth to Jupiter Gold, but he was clearly finding the going tougher against better quality horses.


Ridden for the first time by Vlad Duric in Thursday’s hit-out, Countofmontecristo Horseform, who was also fitted with blinkers for the first time, lay in wait behind the leading pair of Volkstok‘n’barrell (Nooresh Juglall) and Aramco (John Powell) before skipping clear upon cornering.

Dashing past Aramco with ease, the son of Echoes Of Heaven hit the line with two and a half lengths to spare from the Shane Baertschiger-trained galloper with Debt Collector (Michael Rodd) flashing home late for third another 1 ¼ lengths away.

Assistant-trainer Michael White had every reason to be happy with such a rousing gallop 10 days before Countofmontecristo’s upcoming target, the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1600m) on September 23.

“It was a great trial from Countofmontecristo ahead of his target race. That was also his blinker test,” said White.

“He wore winkers once, but never blinkers, and he handled them very well. He will most probably wear them in the Raffles Cup.

“As he’ll be fresh-up, we are throwing everything at him just to try new things, and see how he goes. Vlad was happy with his trial, he said it was a nice soft trial for him.”

The Singapore champion jockey is, however, not the one to become the 10th rider to partner the seven-time winner next Sunday week as he is already booked on Elite Invincible. Brazilian-born Irish jockey Franco Da Silva – who recently finished third on Korean raider Today in the Korea Racing Authority Trophy - is being flown in from Busan, Korea for the steering duties.

“Many jockeys have ridden him. It was a good time to put Vlad on and give him his chance!” said White.

“But he won’t be riding him in the Raffles Cup. I believe Da Silva has been booked.”

Of the nine previous jockeys to have ridden Countofmontecristo, Glen Boss is by far the most successful having won at six of his seven wins, with Alan Munro the other victorious partner, which occurred at that last win on September 10, 2017 in the Group 3 Jumbo Jet Trophy (1400m).

Duric was certainly in a winning mood for not just Countofmontecristo at Thursday’s trials, but also for the other two Joe Singh-owned gallopers trained by Clements, Yabadabadoo and Eye Guy.

The Australian jockey enjoyed a stellar association with Singh’s very first banner horse, Gingerbread Man in 2011, but won’t be riding the promising Eye Guy at his next assignment, which may come across as a surprising leap in class.

“Eye Guy trialled super. He will be running in the Kranji Stakes A race over 1200m on Raffles Cup day,” said White of the Bradbury’s Luck four-year-old who won the third pin of his recent three-in-a-row in Class 3 company.

“There are plenty of easier options he could have gone for but Joe and the stable decided to throw him in at the deep end - even if we feel he will show better form over 1400m.

“He will get in at a low weight. He is a hugely talented horse and he deserves his chance.”

In four starts, Eye Guy has won the last three from start to finish, each time with a different jockey – Alysha Collett, Mohd Zaki and Olivier Placais.

White said no booking has yet been made about his jockey for that race given the limited pool of lightweight riders at Kranji.
Singapore Turf Club




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