3 minute read
It has been a fair journey for trainer Jerome Tan.
The Singaporean - who saddles three runners in the $85,000 Kranji Stakes B race over 1400m on Saturday - started way back in 1998 as a syce for trainer Cecil Robert in Penang before working his way through the ranks and moving back to Singapore as an assistant-trainer for ex-Kranji trainer Tan Hor Khoon in 2005.
Another long stint back in Penang – starting as right-hand man to trainer Roslan Pawanteh and then as a trainer in his own right from 2010 – had him leading in 190 winners, which included the jewel in his career thus far, the Perak Derby with Mr Ambassador in 2012.
But Tan was back in Singapore for the 2019 season when granted boxes by the Singapore Turf Club and though he has not yet featured in the top 10 trainers' list, he had been ultra-consistent with 15 winners in 2019 and 2020 before leading in 20 winners in 2021.
He finished 12th on the trainers' log last year – his highest ranking for a completed season thus far – but with 13 wins already in his bag in 2022, Tan is on track for his best year yet.
"Hopefully we can continue with better results this year," said Tan, who currently sits 11th on the trainers' log.
"It's been good so far, but we have to keep improving."
"It's a tough race for all three," said Tan on Tuesday.
"But when you get to this level at the ratings, you can't pick and choose races, so we put them where we can."
For Sacred Gift, the issue is not the class, but the trip.
"He's going along great but 1400m is a trip he's never tried for me before (ran 9th over the mile in November 2020 when trained by Mark Walker)," continued the family man, who is married to wife Jasmine, with two daughters, Desiree and Denise, age 20 and 18 years old respectively.
"So I don't know how he will go but he is very honest.
"His last two runs on turf have been good and he will handle any tempo, so let's see what he does with my apprentice (jockey) Akmazani (Mazuki) riding.
"He's (Akmazani) has been the bridesmaid a few times lately but he will get his confidence up and his claim (4kgs) will help on Saturday."
M Akmazani has ridden five winners since relocating to Singapore from Malaysia in 2022, and his latest win came in the form of Anpanman for Tan in the War Affair 2015 Stakes, a Class 5 Division 2 race last Sunday.
For The August and Big Tiger, Tan is more worried about the step-up in class.
"The August can handle the 1400m," continued Tan.
"He ran second to Sky Eye two starts back but that was in Class 3, so it is a step-up to Kranji Stakes B race but he's ready to race.
"(Jake) Bayliss will ride him and he looks okay with 55kgs, so he should be competitive."
And of Big Tiger's chances?
"Louis (Philippe-Beuzelin) will ride him and you know he's (Big Tiger) got a lot of depth to him, which we can't see yet, so hopefully he can measure up," he said.
"No problem dropping back from 1800m as he can run over any trip which is good."
Of his other runners on Saturday, Tan thinks Master Player, running in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1200m, is improving with each run, while I Am Sacred, lining up in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1200m, could benefit from a change in surface.
"Master Player had three runs after his operation and should be getting better," said Tan of the promising four-year-old.
"And although I Am Sacred stopped late last start (in the Class 4 race over 1000m on the Polytrack on June 11), he still placed and should go okay on the turf."
Looking forward, Tan thinks a stable clean-out and a refresh is on the cards.
"The stable is going along well but you always have to turn over your horses and refresh," he said.
"We bought some yearlings recently and have some two-year-olds ready to be registered and we are always looking for new owners.
"Crowds are back at Kranji – there's great anticipation now at the tracks which is good for racing and now we need new blood in the owners' ranks too."