3 minute read
A day after trainer Steven Burridge celebrated his 69th birthday on Sunday, he received the bad news of Mr Malek having to be put down on Monday afternoon due to injuries.
A two-time Group winner in the 2023 Group 3 Kranji Sprint (1200m) and the 2021 Group 2 Stewards' Cup (1600m), the seven-year-old son of Swiss Ace last ran a closing fifth to Hongkong Great in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m) on 14 October.
Mr Malek jarred up on the firm track, but he was still nominated for the Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) four weeks later, alongside stablemate Invincible Tycoon, until things went south and he had to be dropped out of the time-honoured race.
With the lameness in Mr Malek 's legs and him suffering from an infection after a chip removal surgery on his near-fore joint, a decision was made for him to be humanely euthanised in the best interest of the horse.
"He pulled up sore after his last race because the track was hard and he was a bit scratchy in his actions," said the Australian handler, who scored a hat-trick of wins with Stop The Water, Shihab and My Determination last Saturday.
"There were chips found in his near-fore joint and the vets did a surgery to take it out. Unfortunately, he got a bit of infection after the surgery, but that was no one's fault.
"They took his blood (test) and his blood (count) was up very high, so there was infection in his body.
"We tried to save him by giving him antibiotics for many days, but he was in so much pain and we had no choice but to put him down on Monday afternoon.
"After that, they did a post-mortem and found a lesion between the cartilage and the joints on the medial condyle of the fetlock, which probably made the lameness worse.
"The prognosis was also bad, and he might not come right or race anymore even if he survived.
"We were all very upset. He was (owner) CK's (Phua Chian Kin) last horse in Singapore.
"He won the Stewards' Cup, then beat cancer and ran third in the (Group 1) Kranji Mile (1600m) first-up. He'd been such a 'warhorse' and he had been great for CK and us."
The versatile galloper had to go under the knife to remove a cancerous lump found on his neck late last year and found a new lease of life at his six runs this season.
Besides the aforementioned Group wins, Mr Malek, who debuted under ex-Kranji trainer Lee Freedman and joined Burridge in mid-2021, also often placed in Kranji's top feature races, including two thirds in the Kranji Mile (2022 and 2023), one second (2022) and one third (2023) in the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m), one third in the 2021 Singapore Gold Cup and one third in this year's Group 1 Raffles Cup (1600m).
All-up, Mr Malek has won 10 races and placed 10 times in 34 starts, amassing close to $980,000 in prizemoney for Mr Phua.
He will be dearly missed by connections, but Burridge has to now focus on his team of eight runners spread across three races in this Saturday's 11-card meeting.
On a brighter note, all his three runners drew well in the $70,000 Class 3 race (1200m). Last-start winners Asif and Ghalib drew gates one and two respectively, while Lim's Craft has drawn in barrier five.
Coincidentally, the trio were supposed to line up in a similar race over 1400m on 25 November, but Asif was scratched after he kicked in the box, leaving Ghalib and Lim's Craft to fight out the finish and bring up a quinella in that order for Burridge.
Burridge would not split them this time.
"I can't really split them. I'm happy with their draws and they're all fit and well to go," he said.
"Asif (x Per Incanto) had two trials (16 and 30 November), they were okay and he did everything right.
"We're putting the girl (apprentice jockey Jerlyn Seow) on and the barrier one definitely suits him as he races in the first three.
"Ghalib (x I Am Invincible) did a good job to win last time (25 November) even though he overraced a bit. He can't sit in the box when he's well and good to run.
"(Jockey) (Manoel) Nunes already took up another ride (City Gold Star), and the owner (Mansoor Gandhi of Al-Arabiya Stable) suggested (jockey) Matthew (Kellady) to ride. He (Ghalib) could sit just behind in third or fourth in the race.
"Lim's Craft (x Smart Missile) got back from the wide barrier (nine) and just got beat on the line (nosed out by Ghalib) the last time.
"Now, he's coming back in trip and it's on the Long Course, so hopefully, that would give him a good sprint home. (Apprentice jockey) Rozlan (Nazam) will ride him and he will need the (three-kilo) claim and everything to go his way."
Lim's Craft will carry 50kgs after Rozlan's three-kilo allowance and Asif will carry 55.5kgs with Seow's two-kilo claim. Ghalib will go into the field of 13 with 57kgs on his back.