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Spirit Of Big Bang a force to be reckoned with in the KSA

3 minute read

A raced four-year-old maiden from Ireland would not have raised many eyebrows from track watchers after arriving at Kranji back in 2019.

Spirit Of Big Bang winning the OPEN MAIDEN
Spirit Of Big Bang winning the OPEN MAIDEN Picture: Singapore Turf Club

In fact, one placing from four starts before boarding the long flight to Singapore suggested the son of Intikhab was indeed a work in progress but someone obviously saw potential.

That potential has slowly evolved into a crack at the Group 1 Kranji Mile – albeit unplaced this year – and an honesty that has seen the now seven-year-old only missed the podium finish on three occasions from 16 starts at Kranj.

And at start no. 17 in Singapore, the Michael Clements-trained gelding looks extremely well-placed to knock in his sixth win on Sunday's $100,000 Kranji Stakes A race over 1400m on the turf.

Though yet to win over seven furlongs, a close-up dead heat-second over the same trip to the smart Prosperous Return in a Kranji Stakes B company at his last start (July 2) - where Clements remarkably trained the first four over the line - had him ready to win in a race with an even spread of ratings and weights.

 "He's had a great preparation and looks suited to these shorter races," explained Clements, who currently sits third on the trainers' premiership with 28 winners.

"We had him pegged for some of the longer Group races early in his Singapore career and until this preparation, his wins have been over the mile.

"But he won first-up (April 17) over 1100m on the Poly(track) and his last two runs over 1400m have been very good."

But Clements was not pigeonholing the Team Cheval and Goldenhill Stable-owned Irish-bred just yet.

"He had some problems and took some time off to remove a chip from his fetlock in June last year," continued the trainer who won the 2020 Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup with Big Hearted.

"So while he did struggle late at his only race over 1800m, he had those issues (fetlock) and has come back this campaign better and stronger, so we will keep our options open for some of the better races over longer later this year.

"And that injury was on the back of a trauma to his front hoof after he ran into a horse on the training track - and he had a year off racing (almost the whole of 2020) - so I don't think we have gotten to the bottom of his potential yet.

"The direction he's going – and with a clean bill of health – he will be a horse to be reckoned with going forward."

Clements has also nominated Quarter Back for the same race – coincidentally the horse that dead heated for second with Spirit Of Big Bang earlier this month.

"He's more of a sprinter," said Clements of the son of Empire Maker.

"But the seven furlongs seems to suit him now and he will be fine backing up after having no luck (wide throughout) last Sunday on the Poly(track).

"He does play around in the barrier a bit – and that can be costly – but he's in form and will be strong late; he always is."

The 2020 Singapore champion trainer has booked jockey Louis-Philippe Beuzelin and apprentice jockey Ibrahim Mamat for the race but is yet to finalise which rider he legs up on which horse.

"We haven't quite decided on which horse gets the senior jockey (Beuzelin) or the claimer (Ibrahim) yet," said Clements.

"Both horses are well-weighted (Spirit Of Big Bang  at 54kgs and Quarter Back at 52.5kgs) but if there is a change in the field, that may lead to a change in the handicaps, and we might claim the four kilos on Spirit Of Big Bang. But we have until tomorrow to decide."

Ibrahim has hit the ground running early in his riding career with three wins from only 12 rides and Clements could not be prouder of his apprentice jockey.

"Yes, it's great to see (him winning)," he said of the Kelantan-born rider.

"We had confidence in him early as his groundwork before he got his licence was very good and it's so great to see him riding well and winning.

"What I like about him is his attitude and the fact that he rides on feeling – he hardly uses the whip - and horses seem to respond.

"If they are slow away, he lets them gain momentum slowly – he doesn't panic like some young riders can – and I hope he can continue on his good run."

Clements added that the handy four-kilos claim of Ibrahim will also be used on a couple of his Class 4 runners in Istataba in the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1600m and Ablest Ascend in the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1000m.


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