Lucky Nine revving up for another krisflyer
While defending champion Military Attack stands out in the $3 million Singapore Airlines International Cup (2,000m), the $1 million KrisFlyer International Sprint (1,200m) in Race 9 looks quite open.
At least half the field can win.
But I think trainer Caspar Fownes' LUCKY NINE is primed to repeat what he achieved last year.
Fownes, who also won the race in 2010 with Green Birdie, has got his globe-trotting sprinter jumping out of his skin for the assault.
His charge looked raring to go when put through a barrier practice last Wednesday.
Fellow Hong Kong runner, Dubai Golden Shaheen winner STERLING CITY is the up-and-comer who will have Joao Moreira at the helm.
Top sprinters ZAC SPIRIT and EMPEROR MAX are Singapore's flag-bearers.
Ireland's BALMONT MAST, who ran fourth last year, is the spoiler. He is all fired up.
1 LUCKY NINE (barrier 2)
Jockey: B Prebble Trainer: Caspar Fownes Owner: DR Chang Fuk To & Maria Chang Lee Ming Shum Career: 40: 13-9-5 (S$7,533,877) Comments: On his day, this globe-trotter who has raced in Singapore, Japan, Dubai and Australia is very hard to beat. He was my top choice when he won the Group 1 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint in 2011 (SIngapore’s Rocket Man finishd 12th) as he impressed me with his looks. Now, he has caught my eye again. Gets my vote.
2 STERLING CITY (10)
Jockey: J Moreira Trainer: John Moore Owner: Ling Chiu Shing & Gary Ling Kay Wai Career: 20: 8-6-3 (S$3,204,876) Comments: One of Hong Kong’s rising stars, he did his country proud on Dubai World Cup Night when Joao Moreira rode him to capture the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen over 1,200m. When they met in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize on Feb 16, he lost by half a length to Lucky Nine. He has youth and improvement on his side. Will go close.
3 CAPTAIN OBVIOUS (8)
Jockey: O Chavez Trainer: Alwin Tan Owner: Leong Phooi Yee Career: 36: 16-4-5 (S$1,505,945) Comments: The former Malaysian galloper held his own against the best on the more-competitive Kranji scene. He even won once from three starts in Dubai but was well beaten in his G1 Sprinters Stakes attempt in 2012. Lucky Nine finished fifth in that race. They grey is getting a bit long in the tooth. Will need plenty of luck.
4 ZAC SPIRIT (3)
Jockey: A Munro Trainer: Cliff Brown Owner: Zac Stable Career: 12: 8-1-2 (S$828,634) Comments: One of the exciting finds in Singapore, he put his hands up for the KrisFlyer with his impeccable record of four wins in his last four starts, culminating in the G1 Lion City Cup over 1,200m. He won and went under the 1min 09sec barrier in his last two 1,200m wins, which puts him as Singapore best hope.
5 EL PADRINO (7)
Jockey: D Beasley Trainer: Alwin Tan Owner: One Eight Eight Stable Career: 26: 7-5-4 (S$569,692) Comments: The ace sprinter also had a stint in Dubai, winning the first of his three races at Meydan — and in record time for 1,400m. He took the G3 Merlion Trophy by 5 lengths with his mind-blowing last-to-first run. He was invited for the Dubai Golden Shaheen but did not make it because of veterinary protocol. The pace will suit him.
6 GOAL KEEPER (6)
Jockey: B Vorster Trainer: Theo Kieser Owner: Sam Chee Kiong Career: 25: 10-6-3 (S$716,544) Comments: He led and faded away to finish a 7.1-length seventh behind Lucky Nine last year. He bounced back to form last start with a 1.6-length third behind Zac Spirit and Emperor Max in the G1 Lion City Cup. He may be a nice, speedy sprinter but it is a tall order again the creme de la creme of the sprinting ranks.
7 BALMONT MAST (9)
Jockey: C O’Donoghue Trainer: Edward Lynam Owner: Derek Iceton & Edward Lynam Career: 33: 5-5-5 (S$788,849) Comments: He came from last to finish fourth to Lucky Nine last year, going down by 3.25 lengths. In his latest run, he finished eighth to Sterling City in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, beaten by 6 lengths. On those scores, he needs to improve to turn the tables on the two Hong Kong runners. He gets highly strung and needs to relax.
8 MEDICEAN MAN (1)
Jockey: D Oliver Trainer: Jeremy Gask Owner: Stuart Dobb & Miss Kate Dobb Career: 51: 11-4-7 (S$762,152) Comments: This UK galloper had his last four starts in Dubai and proved consistent — with a third, back-to-back wins and a last-start 1.5-length fourth to Hong Kong’s Amber Sky in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint over 1,000m straight. The chestnut eight-year-old looked a cool sort during trackwork, unfazed by all the media attention. The surprise?
9 EMPEROR MAX (5)
Jockey: Z Purton Trainer: Stephen Gray Owner: Yau Hok Man Gordon Career: 12: 7-2-0 (S$406,507) Comments: He played second fiddle to Zac Spirit in his last two starts, first losing by a mere nose in the G3 Kranji Sprint and then by 1.5 lengths in the G1 Lion City Cup. Before that, he strung five consecutive wins. His Hong Kong owners have secured the services of Hong Kong leading jockey Zac Purton for the task. Top four hope.
10 SLEW OF LODE (4)
Jockey: J Powell Trainer: Patrick Shaw Owner: Crabbia Alfredo Leonardo Arnaldo Career: 13: 7-2-4 (S$227,935) Comments: He arrived from Argentina with two wins. In his Singapore debut, he lost by just a nose but won his next four starts (thrice over 1,200m and once over 1,400m). His trainer stepped him up to 1,600m for his last start to train him to stay and he finished a 1.5-length third. He is coming back in distance which is a concern.