Kuah points Forever Young to the Guineas
Fourth in Lion City Cup, trainer looks ahead
Alvin Kuah Cheng Tee's daring gamble with FOREVER YOUNG in the Lion City Cup may not have come off, but the stunningly good fourth has spurred the second-year trainer on further.
Bolstered by that run which he described as "fantastic" despite the torrid conditions in the early part of the Group 1 sprint over 1,200m, Kuah is now eyeing the third Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, the Group 1 Singapore Guineas over 1,600m on May 14 for the American-bred.
A few people scoffed when the then 61-point gelding and two-time winner up to Class 4 grade was thrown in against the likes of Lim's Cruiser, Emperor Max and Alibi, but even if Kuah did not get the last laugh, they won't be so derisive this time.
Ridden by Benny Woodworth for the first time, Forever Young was poleaxed barely 200m into the race as he was settling into his strides after a good start, when Emperor Max (Michael Rodd) shifted in too sharply as he went to dispute the lead with Wimbledon (Vlad Duric).
But he did well to recover from that incident before plugging away solidly for fourth in the rain-affected track.
Kuah had mixed feelings as he watched the Hong Kong-owned galloper silence his detractors with a run that exceeded expectations. Herein lay the problem, Kuah is convinced he could have even blown them away if not for the bad check at the 1,000m mark.
"I said before the race not to underestimate this horse. I know he's got a lion's heart and he showed it again on Sunday against Singapore's best sprinters, it was a fantastic run," said the Singaporean conditioner.
"He got badly checked, lost five lengths and got beaten only over five lengths by a Lim's Cruiser who had a more than perfect trip on the rails. He also got a little bumped by Hip Hip Hooray before the home turn.
"I'm not saying he would have won, but I'm quite sure he would have finished closer. What I really liked was the way he kept finding when he was entitled to get tired.
"One thing is for sure, he can run against the best. Even the handicapper thinks so as he gave him six points after that run (now on 67).
"That is why I've decided to run him in the Guineas next. It's true I said he was more of a 1,200m horse before, but the way he runs and the way he has improved tells me he may be ready for the mile."
Forever Young actually had his first stab at Group glory in the first Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1,200m), running seventh to Countofmontecristo, but only just over three lengths astern.
"He was wide throughout in the Sprint. He ducked in sharply under pressure at the top of the straight, but kept on well," said Kuah.
"This horse does not stop improving and I would say he is two or three lengths better since that run."
WORKOUTS BY HORSES ENGAGED FOR SATURDAY
CLASS 4 - 1,200m: Cizen * canter/36.8. Tawqeet * canter/pace work. Oriental Spirit canter/40.1.
Slow work: Heart's Choice. Gabbar. Sand Lane. Hussar.
CLASS 4 - 1,200m: Speed Flying pace work. Equally Optimistic * canter/36.3. Ruffle The Ruffian * canter/36.9.
Slow work: Baby Polo. Gadawon. Our Friendly Diva.
CLASS 5 - 1,100m: Happy Choice canter/43.5. Rangitaiki * 39.5. Zenidekka * 43.8.
Barrier practice: Pius Touch 34.5.
Slow work: Cabrera.
CLASS 5 - 1,100m: Black Sorcerer * 40.1. First Option canter/pace work. The Professional canter/38.2. Lee's Melody * canter/pace work.
Barrier practice: Moonbeam Dazzler * 36.9.
Slow work: Marco Polo. Money Not Enough.
CLASS 5 - 1,400m: Molly Browne * 38.9. Alfraaj canter/39.1. King Savinsky canter/40.6. Storm Hero * 41.3. Coconut canter/pace work.
Barrier practice: Ghost City * 34.5.
CLASS 5 - 1,400m: Sacred Achiever canter/40.6. Flying Horse * 43.8. Supreme Sasso 37.7. High Peak 44.6.
Slow work: Sharp Knight. Astroheat.
NOVICE - 1,300m: Siam The Triumph canter/40.6. Aragorn 38.1. Water Park canter/38.3. Blixem canter/36.4. Butch Cassidy canter/36.4. Ebtihaal canter/pace work.
Barrier test: Orange 42.6.
Slow work: Gassur.
MAIDEN - 1,400m: Toko * canter/37.3. Mr Newman * canter/39.4. Magic Ranger * canter/40.1. BM Power canter/38.1. Tomorrow's Gold 40.6.
WORKOUTS BY HORSES ENGAGED FOR SUNDAY
ENRICH STAKES A - 1,200m: World Harmony *** canter/36.5.
Slow work: Holy Empire. Professor X. Peaceful Warrior.
CLASS 3 - 1,400m: Slow work: Crazy Club. Windchaser.
CLASS 4 - 1,200m: Probably *** canter/34.3. Superb Seven 41.2.
Slow work: Big Tsunami. Southern Hussler. Anak Warrior. Flaming Fireheart.
CLASS 4 - 1,600m: Runforit * canter/37.3.
Slow work: Royal Explorer.
CLASS 5 - 1,100m: Aguero canter/pace work. Cizen Brother * canter/36.8.
Barrier test: Golden Sand 36.9.
Slow work: Black Rain * Warship. Mr Victory. Triple Coin. South Emperor.
CLASS 5 - 1,100m: Vintage Verdot * pace work. Black Sequalo 39.2. Green Tracer 36.9.
Slow work: Secret Spice. Hacker. Polo Gaga. Zac Gallant *.
CLASS 5 - 1,400m: Royal Choice * pace work. Mata Mata * canter/pace work.
Barrier practice: Home Run Hero * 36.9.
Slow work: Drought. Pretty Able.
CLASS 5 - 1,400m: Lucky Money pace work. Fairborn pace work.
Barrier practice: Lazaroo * 34.5. Good Code 36.9.
Slow work: Anak Penang * Zac Suggestion.