Sports

The Singapore Derby line-up

1 STEPITUP (barrier 18)

Jockey: D Flores

Trainer: S Yeoh

Owner: Tivic Stable

Career: 16 starts: 9-2-1

Comments: No doubt he looks the one with the best chance on paper, being the highest-rated contender and with the proven ability over the 2,000m Derby distance. But he has more ground to cover than the rest from that horrendous widest draw in a capacity field.

2 JOHNNY GUITAR (4)

Jockey: B Vorster

Trainer: P Shaw

Owner: Crabbia Alfredo Leonardo Arnaldo

Career: 8: 2-1-2

Comments: Proved that the Derby trip is within his sphere when he finished a half-length second behind Wild Geese in the Group 2 Queen Elizabeth II Cup. After his flop in the Singapore Airlines International Cup, his next two runs were nothing to shout about.

3 SPALATO (10)

Jockey: M Nunes

Trainer: J O'Hara

Owner: Graham Christopher Mackie

Career: 3: 3-0-0

Comments: Unbeaten in three starts, culminating with his shorthead win over Stepitup in the G1 Patron's Bowl over 1,600m. His first two wins were over 1,000m and 1,400m. Very fit but the 2,000m is a big query, even for a rising star like him .

4 EMPEROR'S BANQUET (3)

Jockey: N Juglall

Trainer: P Shaw

Owner: Tmen Stable

Career: 12: 4-2-1

Comments: His furtherst win was also over 1,600m but he has more mileage than Spalato. That's about the only advantage he has. Class-wise, Spalato looks better. Drawn well, he will look a possibility one stage but whether he can kick on to win is left to be seen.

5 WALL STREET BOY (7)

Jockey: J Powell

Trainer: C Brown

Owner: Wall Street Boy & Tarnpirr Stable

Career: 9: 3-3-0

Comments: Can stay all day and has won over the Derby trip. Did not finish off as well as expected last start when fifth to Spalato in the G1 Patron's Bowl. But that run should have topped him up nicely for the 2,000m journey. A good pace will enhance his chances.

6 MR ARMSTRONG (14)

Jockey: L Allpress

Trainer: M Freedman

Owner: Raffles Racing Stable

Career: 18: 5-3-2

Comments: One of his five wins was over the Derby trip. His last two runs, over 1,600m and 1,800m, were only fair. He needs to lift to have a say, especially from a wide barrier. This will be his first attempt at Group level. Only for the adventurous.

7 VALBUENA (1)

Jockey: J McDonald

Trainer: L Laxon

Owner: Sir Peter Vela & Silver Fern Stable Career: 2: 0-0-0

Comments: Came from New Zealand with six starts for two wins, over 1,400m and 2,100m, which was the G2 Avondale Guineas. But both his Singapore runs, over 1,200m and 1,600m, had been ordinary. His connections have flown in a top jockey to try and get the job done.

8 CORDOBA (2)

Jockey: I Saifudin

Trainer: D Hill

Owner: Season Stable

Career: 7: 4-0-0

Comments: Started his career promisingly, with four straight wins over 1,400m with his powerful finish. He was hailed as a classic prospect but had finished out of board in a G3 over 1,600m and a G2 over 1,400m. He led and faded last start over 1,800m. Just a roughie.

9 ALFONSO (5)

Jockey: CW Brown

Trainer: L Laxon

Owner: Oscar Racing Stable

Career: 5: 1-2-0

Comments: Two starts in NZ for a win over 1,400m. Looks the progressive type. Stepped up on four starts to win last time over over 1,800m. Should handle the extra 200m. Owner has been lucky in this race, winning Dreyfuss in 2004 and Clint in 2011.

10 IZNATE (13)

Jockey: D Beasley

Trainer: M Freedman

Owner: China Horse Club Stable

Career: 5: 0-1-1

Comments: Raced six times in France for two wins, over 1,600m and 2,000m. Both were on soft tracks, so watch him if the skies open up. Getting closer at Kranji, with his best of five runs coming from his last start. He was beaten by a mere shorthead by Alfonso.

11 MAGICAL TALENT (8)

Jockey: App R Rueven

Trainer: L Laxon

Owner: Tivic Stable

Career: 12: 3-0-1

Comments: Scored once over 1,250m in Australia. Won his first three starts at Kranji when under Sonny Yeoh, over 1,200m (twice) and 1,400m. His form petered out after that and he ran in his last few starts under Laurie Laxon, who entered him over longer trips. Unlikely.

12 FLIGHT OFTHE SAKER (16)

Jockey: D Browne

Trainer: C Brown

Owner: Hippocrates Stable

Career: 4: 1-1-2

Comments: Had six starts in Ireland for a win and a second, both over 2,414m. Showed consistency at Kranji, with a win over 2,000m, a second and two thirds. Last time out, he came from last to finish a smack-up third to Alfonso and Iznate over 1,800m. Each-way chance.

13 PANAMA CITY (11)

Jockey: Apprentice K A'Isisuhairi

Trainer: ZL Mok

Owner: Marvel Stable

Career: 10: 3-0-0

Comments: Has hit a bright patch, with three wins in his last four starts. He may be the smallest candidate (scored first win weighing 432kg and last win weighing 444kg) but he sure makes it up with his big heart. The dark horse although this will be his first try over 2,000m.

14 VERGLATICA (9)

Jockey: I Azhar

Trainer: S Burridge

Owner: Equus Racing Stable

Career: 20: 3-6-3

Comments: He has been running well this campaign and he stays the Derby trip all right. But his three wins have all been over the 1,700m on the Polytrack. Last start, he was held up but finished a three-quarter-length second to War Time over the Poly 1,800m. Include in the exotics.

15 BENDICION (6)

Jockey: A Munro

Trainer: H Takaoka

Owner: Big Valley Stable

Career: 15: 5-2-5

Comments: One of the two mares in the race and his trainer has luck with the fairer sex in this race, winning with Jolie's Shinju in 2009 and Better Life last year. Bendicion has the credentials to make it three. Her third placing at Group level in her last two starts were superb.

16 EMPRESS WU (15)

Jockey: I Santana

Trainer: D Koh

Owner: Empress Wu Stable

Career: 12: 5-2-1

Comments: Looks more of a sprinter-miler, although she is bred to stay. The furthest of her five wins was over 1,600m. She possesses speed and, being drawn very wide, her rider will have no choice but to press forward and hope she can stay in front all the way. But unlikely.

17 FLYING TEMPO E1 (12)

Jockey: KB Soo

Trainer: H Takaoka

Owner: Lucky Stable

Career: 10: 1-2-1

Comments: 13 starts in the UK for three wins up to 2,213m. But, in Singapore, he could string up only one win and that was over 1,800m some time ago. He tends to mix his form, so it is hard to gauge him. He could be hard to beat on his day but you have to take him on trust.

18 GOLD HILL E2 (17)

Jockey: Unfixed

Trainer: C Brown

Owner: Gold Stable

Career: 6: 0-1-0

Comments: 14 starts in Ireland for two wins, over 1,408m on a soft track and 1,710m. Yet to shed his maiden status from six starts in Singapore. His best effort was a second over 1,600m two starts back. Last start, he overraced when fourth to Alfonso over 1,800m. Looks a tall order.