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Nunes tuning up for Kranji Mile with full book of rides on Sunday

3 minute read

As a five-time Singapore champion jockey, Manoel Nunes knows every race counts.

FAST AND FEARLESS winning the MR MALEK 2021 STAKES CLASS 5 Picture: Singapore Turf Club

While the Brazilian ace has one eye on the riches of the $1 million Group 1 Kranji Mile (1600m) and the $150,000 Group 2 Singapore Guineas (1600m) on 18 May, Nunes still commanded a full book of rides this Sunday.

It was not surprising given his standing in the jockey ranks at Kranji, but the hardworking hoop also know numbers are on his side as he tries to bridge the gap of three wins between him and leading compatriot Bruno Queiroz, who is suspended for careless riding and will sit out on Sunday, in the 2024 title race.

While the quality of horseflesh might be questionable – six of the 10 races are Class 5 and one race is for Maidens – punters know that Nunes will leave nothing to chance.

"It is hard to be confident given the quality," explained Nunes on Thursday.

"Most of the horses are in Class 5 for a reason and lacks consistency, but I'm happy with my rides on Sunday and hopefully, I can get a winner or two.

"Fast And Fearless (x Iffraaj) in the first race (in the $30,000 Class 5 race over 1100m) looks a good chance to get on the board early.

"It's hard to be confident given the grade, but he (Fast and Fearless) carries three-and-a-half kilos less than last start and has a good gate (three), so he should run well with 55.5kgs.

"Flying Fighter (x Showtime) has found form and this race ($20,000 Maiden over 1200m) looks winnable. He's a little immature and may be better over longer, but his last two runs were good.

"Axel (x Darci Brahma) could go well too (in the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1400m). I have only ridden him once and he ran on very well late to win in a similar race to this (in a Class 4 race over 1400m on 4 November).

"I think he is best ridden that way, so no problem with the wide gate (10) this week. He worked well on Monday but I think he needs a little give out of the ground."

Oddly, Nunes' best winning ride on paper – Hole In One is only the first Emergency Acceptor in the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1200m, which meant he is not guaranteed a start. But the four-year-old son of Spieth will be hard to beat if he does indeed get to the starting stalls in the Lucky Last.

"I knew he (Hole In One) may not get a start, but I took the risk," he explained.

"His first-up run (finished third in a Class 4 race over 1200m on 13 April) was very good and (trainer) Ricardo (Le Grange) said he has improved.

"I wanted to stick with him as I think he can win if he gets a run."

Nunes also shared that he will be riding Super Salute in the Kranji Mile and Bakeel in the Singapore Guineas on 18 May.

"Yes, I'm very excited about next weekend," said Nunes, who won the 2017 Kranji Mile on Infantry for trainer Alwin Tan.

"I will be riding Super Salute  (x I Am Invincible) in the Kranji Mile and while it's hard to beat Lim's Kosciuszko and Golden Monkey at set weights, I'm happy with my horse.

"You can forget his last run (finished eighth behind Lim's Kosciuszko in the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy over 1400m). He (Super Salute ) got smashed after the start and clipped heels when the pace slowed. His race was over.

"He is usually so honest and is always trying. I think he is more mature now, so the mile will be okay. I gave him a good gallop on Tuesday and he felt good.

"We will give him pacework this Saturday and another strong gallop on Tuesday and he will be ready. Million-dollar races don't happen too often so it's good to be involved.

"Bakeel (x Sioux Nation) is big chance in the Guineas.

"I think he could have beaten Lim's Bighorn with another two or three strides in the (Group 2) Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (over 1400m on 27 April).

"So while there is a question mark on all the runners over the mile of the Guineas, I think we don't have to worry from the way we hit the line.

"And he pulled up really well from that run and his work has been good, so I think he will run very well."

Singapore Turf Club

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