show me:

Pacific Emperor to reign in Polytrack sprint

3 minute read

The versatile Pacific Emperor gets back to arguably what he does best when contesting the $100,000 Kranji Stakes A race on the Polytrack over 1100m on Saturday.

PACIFIC EMPEROR winning the MERLION TROPHY GROUP 3 Picture: Singapore Turf Club

Although never winning over the trip, the four-year-old son of Caravaggio has won four times on the all-weather surface – all over 1200m – including the Group 3 Merlion Trophy in October.

That Group win was at his very first start for trainer David Kok (previously with ex-Kranji trainer, Michael Clements) and remarkably Pacific Emperor had an audacious crack at the Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup over 2000m at his very next run (11 November).

And although unplaced and beaten some seven lengths behind Lim's Kosciuszko on that occasion, the six-time winner bounced right back with a third placing behind Super Salute in the Group 3 New Year Cup (1200m on the Polytrack) in January.

A solid fourth placing on the turf over 1400m in the Group 3 Fortune Bowl again showed he can mix with the best on both surfaces. And for Kok, the dilemma may be where best to place the highest rated horse (97) in his stable.

"He's (Pacific Emperor ) very versatile, which is good for me," said the Singaporean conditioner.

"He can race on the turf and Polytrack, but I think the trick is finding his best distance on both tracks.

"You can see he loves sprinting on the Polytrack, so this Saturday looks perfect for him. But on the turf, I believe he is better suited over 1400m or 1600m.

"So apart from these types of races (Polytrack sprints), the (Group 2) EW Barker Trophy (1400m on 21 April) and the (Group 1) Kranji Mile (1600m on 18 May) are features we will target for the owners (Pacific Stable)."

As for Saturday's sprinting assignment, Kok was confident of a very good showing on the back of a nice trial (won trial no 1 on 4 April in the time of 0.59.13secs) after battling at his last run, when finishing eighth in the Group 3 Committee's Prize over 1600m on 9 March.

"The wide gate (13) killed his chances at his last start," explained Kok.

"It's very hard in big races anyway, so you can forgive that run.

"He (Pacific Emperor) trialled very well for (apprentice jockey) Jerlyn (Seow) last week and she was very happy with the trial.

"But (jockey) Ruan (Maia) is back this week and we booked him a couple of weeks ago for this ride.

"He (Maia) rode him in trackwork this morning and he told me the horse felt good and was ready.

"He (Pacific Emperor) has a good Polytrack record, it's not a big field (eight runners) and I think he should run in the money for Ruan."

Kok also has Maia booked for three other rides and is hoping the Brazilian hoop can make a winning return to riding in Singapore.

"He's (Maia) a quality jockey," he said of the two-time Macau champion jockey.

"He rode plenty of winners here before going to Hong Kong and it's good to have him back.

"He's riding another Pacific Stable runner, Pacific Spirit, for me in the ($30,000) Class 5 (Division 1) race over 1700m.

"And two for the Sabah team (RSTC Stable) in Sabah Win ($30,000 Class 5 Division 2 race over 1200m) and Kinabalu Light ($30,000 Class 5 Division 2 race over 1700m).

"I think they are all good rides and hopefully he can win one or two for me."

Maia is happy to be back riding in Singapore, albeit later than expected due to both the Singapore Turf Club and Macau Jockey Club calling last drinks in 2024.

"I was supposed to come back (to Singapore) last year," said Maia who finished second to Vlad Duric in the 2020 Singapore jockey premiership.

"But after they (the STC) announced they were closing (5 October), I stayed in Macau but then they suddenly closed too (1 April).

"So, I'm grateful to be back at Kranji, where I have many good memories.

"I also have good connections with many owners and trainers, like David.

"I have four rides for him Saturday (and eight overall) but very much looking forward to Pacific Emperor, who I rode in trackwork this morning.

"He's a nice horse, the Polytrack looks sweet for him and not too much weight (57kgs). From the good barrier (two), I think he's a good chance."

Singapore Turf Club

What’s gambling really costing you?

For free and confidential support call 1800 858 858 or visit