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Smart Star ready to shine again

3 minute read

The David Kok-trained Smart Star looked well placed to get back into the winner's circle in the $50,000 Class 4 race (1700m) on the Polytrack on Sunday.

SMART STAR winning the CLASS 4
SMART STAR winning the CLASS 4 Picture: Singapore Turf Club

Already a three-time winner, Smart Star narrowly went down at his last start on 21 April in a Class 4 race (2000m) on the turf to the Group 1 Kranji Mile-nominated Saint Tropez.

In addition, the Smart Bet Stable-owned five-year-old's last win was in a Class 4 race over 1700m on the Polytrack on 14 January.

As the highest-rated runner on 63 points among the eight runners, Smart Star will have to carry the top impost of 59kgs against some solid Class 4 oppositions, but Kok was confident his stayer can overcome the weight and win.

"Of course, the big weight will make it harder," said Kok on Tuesday.

"But he (Smart Star) is a big horse around 550 kilos, so he can carry 59kgs no problem.

"He probably should have won at his last start but he lost a shoe (from right fore) in the straight and the winner (Saint Tropez) is better than Class 4.

"He (Smart Star) had excuses too (checked and raced wide) at the start before that (in a Class 4 race over 1600m on 30 March), so I'm hoping for better luck on Sunday. Maybe the small field will help.

"I will assess the pace and tactics after the barrier draw on Wednesday but (jockey) Ryan (Curatolo) knows the horse very well and was very happy with his gallop this morning.

"He (Smart Star) has maintained his fitness since his last start and is ready to win again."

Looking forward, Kok knows Smart Star still had a lot to do but believed a run in the Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) on 5 October is a realistic goal.

"He's a stayer for sure," said Kok of the son of Star Witness.

"He can also race on the turf or Polytrack, as long as it's over a long trip; the longer the better. So, if he can win a race or two and get his rating up, we will look at the (Singapore) Gold Cup.

"These colours (yellow and dark blue stripes) have won the race before (Smart Bet in 2002) so it would be nice for (owner) Mr Lim (Chong Sam) to have another runner."

While the last running of the Singapore Gold Cup is still five months away, Kok had been busy putting the final touches on Pacific Emperor, who will be his sole runner in the Kranji Mile (1600m) on 18 May.

"He's going well and improving with every run," said Kok of the four-year-old son of Caravaggio.

"I don't think he's a sprinter anymore. After we tried him in the (Singapore) Gold Cup last year (finished 13th behind Lim's Kosciuszko on 11 November), I think his best trip is 1400m to 1600m.

"I will give him a (barrier) trial this Thursday (9 May) and that will be his last serious hit-out before the Kranji Mile. Then we'll just keep him ticking over until the race.

"It's exciting to have a runner in such a big race. It's good for the owners (Pacific Stable) and everyone at the stable.

"(Jockey) Daniel (Moor) will ride him if his work permit is sorted in time and hopefully, we can run a strong race."

Of his 12 other runners this Sunday, Kok believed Sabah Win has found a suitable race and gets his chance in the $30,000 Class 5 Division 2 race over 1200m.

"I think Smart Star is my best winning chance on Sunday, but Sabah Win is in the right race," he said of the four-year-old son of Turn Me Loose.

"His only win was in a Class 5 race over 1200m on the Polytrack (in 25 November 2023) and I think (Class 5) Division 2 will be what he needs.

"(Jockey) Ruan (Maia) will ride him again after a tough run from a wide gate (nine) last start (finished fifth in a Class 5 Division 2 race over 1200m on 13 April).

"Hopefully we get a better gate and can finish in the first few."

Singapore Turf Club

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