Racing

Augustano and Mr Clint impress

Trainer Freedman's duo take on super-strong field in Friday's Group 3 Singapore 3YO Sprint

Friday's first leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge - the $250,000 Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1,200m - is certainly a race with a gilt edge.

It is filled with such a fine array of the circuit's youngsters that racegoers will end up in a situation of not what to chose but what to leave out.

Compounding the problem is the way the contenders have looked during trackwork over the past two mornings at Kranji. They have all been tuned up to perfection for their tasks, making it a super-competitive race, indeed.

On Monday, trainer Ricardo Le Grange's Mokastar, Nowyousee and Captain Jamie all impressed in their gallops. The trio had already caught the eye in their trials last week.

Trainer Michael Clements' Yabadabadoo, a three-time winner from five outings, including his last start, also wowed tracksiders with his beautiful piece of hit-out.

Now, yesterday morning, 11 more contenders trotted out to go through their paces and none of them looked really short on fitness. They are all fighting fit, ready to run the race of their lives.

Trainer Lee Freedman's last-start winner Augustano, who gets pride of place with saddle-cloth No. 1 as the highest-rated three-year-old in the capacity field, which includes two emergency acceptors, looked a picture of fitness when taken out by jockey Glen Boss.

The four-time winner from eight starts strode out faultlessly over 600m on the Polytrack in 38.7sec. Although a speedy type, he wasn't out to break any records and pulled up as fresh as a daisy.

Freedman has a high opinion of the horse but his main concern is Friday's turf track, as Augustano's victories have all been on the Polytrack. But the horse has been going from strength to strength and deserves his place in the race.

Boss, too, has rated the horse as "a good-looking individual who wants to please all the time" and he had told Freedman that Augustano would "become more impressive when the class gets better".

What Boss likes most is the gelding's "amazing turn of speed which I think will be better utilised if we put him away in a race".

That strategy would surely be better, considering the abundant pace with so many speed demons in the race.

Freedman's other Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint candidate Mr Clint also worked exceptionally well yesterday morning with jockey Craig Grylls astride.

The Oscar Racing Stable galloper disposed of 600m in 36.7 on the Polytrack and, like Augustano, pulled up very well.

Mr Clint has been very consistent, finishing in the money in all five starts. He has two wins, two seconds and a third.

A strong finisher, he will also be suited by the fast tempo of this exciting sprint.

Big-race specialist Cliff Brown also has a good hand with two smart runners in runaway debut winner Mister Yeoh and course record-breaking filly Filiuster, who both sprinted smartly on the right-handed Track 6 yesterday morning.

Mister Yeoh, who won by more than seven lengths on March 18, showed zest when clocking 37.4.

Filibuster, who holds the Polytrack 1,100m track record in 1min 04.16sec but was a beaten favourite last time out, dashed over 600m in 37. She has trimmed up a lot from her last start after a brief spell.

Both Brown's horses were taken out by jockey Michael Rodd. They are set to go well.

Another trainer who is well represented is Shane Baertschiger, whose three runners also galloped earnestly.

Although Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe winner Be Bee took it very easy with a 45.1 spin, he looked a ball of muscle.

Stablemates Stunning Cat and Chocante went a lot quicker, clocking 37.4 and 37.6 respectively.

Jockey John Powell was on Be Bee and Stunning Cat, while Matthew Kellady rode Chocante.

With so many candidates all bursting out of their skin, racegoers can expect the Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint to be a thriller on Friday.

HORSE RACING