Sports

The 'GOOSE' will be charging home

Trainer Steven Burridge is hoping for a big run from the horse he affectionately calls "The Goose" in today's $300,000 Group 2 Chairman's Trophy.

To the Australian trainer, the English-bred five-year-old by Exceed And Excel has come back in great order since the $3 million Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup (2,000m) in May when he was up on the pace for most of the way, but was engulfed by his classier rivals to finish last.

After a pipe-opening sixth at his comeback race over a distance (1,400m) not made to suit, Wild Geese was back to his best two weeks later when he was, however, beaten a nostril by Gold Rutile in a Kranji Stakes A race over 1,600m on Derby Day on July 13.

TAKING OVER

Ridden by Singapore's runaway leading jockey Manoel Nunes who was taking over from his recent regular partner A'Isisuhairi Kasim, Wild Geese was being hailed the winner when he ranged up alongside Gold Rutile (Alan Munro) with 200m to go, but he peaked on his run, allowing the Japanese-bred mare to eke out a comeback by the barest of margins.

Burridge would have felt slightly stiff losing so narrowly, but remains bullish that the Hippocrates Stable-owned galloper can turn his fortunes around.

"It was a gutsy run from The Goose, but (Hideyuki) Takaoka's mare is not one who gives up easily. It was a bob of the head and my horse lost by a fingernail," said Burridge.

"He's pulled up well after that run. We've looked after him since his run in the SIA Cup. We gave him a break and he's been working in good order ever since.

"It's a wide open race. There are no standouts although you would think Stepitup remains the horse to beat.

"Goodman was very impressive at his last start, but he is going over 1,800m for the first time and he's drawn wide, which does not help. But I couldn't be happier with my bloke, and fingers crossed, he runs a good race on Sunday."

Nunes, who has yet to win on Wild Geese in four previous rides, has vowed to change that state of affairs, especially after going down by a whisker two weeks ago.

"It was a big run with 58kg on that day. I really thought we had won when we hit the front, but Takaoka's mare fought back on the rails, and unfortunately we just lost," said the Brazilian jockey, who has already notched six Group wins this year (to bring his overall Singapore tally to 10), the latest being the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby.

"After the race, Steve asked me if I could ride him at his next race, the Chairman's Trophy and I said yes for sure. I have not ridden him since that last race, but he looks in good shape, Steve has done a great job with him.

"If he runs the same way he did on that day, I am confident he will be right up there at the finish. Stepitup is the main danger and you have to respect Goodman, even if the distance is a bit of a question mark."