Bigger things planned for Elite Excalibur
Trainer Cliff Brown's rising star will now head for the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge
Rising star ELITE EXCALIBUR resumed his promising Singapore racing career the same way he began it six months ago - with a win on Sunday, and in the same resounding manner.
A three-time winner in Sydney for Gai Waterhouse when he raced as River Wild, Elite Excalibur stamped his class right away at his Kranji debut in a Benchmark 67 race over 1,400m in November, gunning down his rivals with consummate ease.
His then-trainer, Steven Burridge, determined that such talent warranted testing other waters, like Dubai.
So he charted a similar path undertaken by the likes of Dark Matter, Captain Obvious and Ip Man (later El Padrino) in 2012 which produced four wins.
But it wasn't to be all celebration this time around. Elite Excalibur had a shot at the rich pickings of the Dubai World Cup Carnival from January to March, and though not disgraced in five runs, he could not score.
The Fastnet Rock four-year-old then returned to Singapore - and to a new yard, that of trainer Cliff Brown. Two months later, he had his first local run back, and bingo.
However, Brown modestly played down his part in taking him straight back to the winner's enclosure after the running of the $80,000 Super Easy 2012 Stakes, a Class 3 race over 1,400m.
Ridden by his regular partner Michael Rodd, Elite Excalibur enjoyed an ideal run in fifth spot, scraping paint before sliding through a gap at the top of the straight en route to a facile two-length win from Kirks Ryker (Vlad Duric).
Winning Cause (Nooresh Juglall) ran third, half-a-length away.
Sent off as the $12 favourite, Elite Excalibur stopped the clock in a smart 1min 21.92sec for the 1,400m on the Long Course A.
"Steven had already done a very good job with the horse. He came to us fit," said Brown.
"With the leader showing favours to leaders, I told Michael to ride him a touch closer than what I would have liked, that is midfield.
"We rode him a little upside down, but it's worked out good as he got to relax very well. The 4YO series is his main target, but I'm yet to decide if he'll run in the Stewards' Cup. But he's definitely running in the Patron's Bowl and, hopefully, the Derby."
The Singapore Four-Year Challenge kicks off with the Group 2 Stewards' Cup (1,400m) on May 28, followed by the Group 1 Patron's Bowl (1,600m) on June 18 and the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (2,000m) on July 9.
As for Rodd, he was just happy to get back on the horse whom he partnered to two of his five rides in Dubai (fifth and sixth), as well as his debut win at Kranji.
"He's a horse who runs well fresh. He had no ill-effects from his Dubai trip," said the Australian jockey.
"I think it actually made him smarter and stronger, but I will leave it to the trainer to decide if he will go towards the Derby."