Time Odyssey has bright chance in New Year Cup
Sunday Kranji race preview
Newly licensed trainer Ricardo Le Grange appears to have a stranglehold on the new season's first feature - Sunday's $200,000 Group 3 New Year Cup.
The former deputy of trainer Patrick Shaw has four strong candidates, or a third of the line-up, including probable favourite TIME ODYSSEY and last year's winner PERFECT P.
He is backed up by the consistent BIG BROTHER and 2015 Longines Singapore Gold Cup winner COOPTADO in the 1,900m Polytrack race.
I think Avenger Stable's Time Odyssey is the one who will snare the silverware for Le Grange for two good reasons.
Firstly, the five-year-old South African-bred is in sizzling form. Last start on Nov 20 in the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup, he ran a good second behind Bahana in the time-honoured 2,200m classic.
He has since been trialling and working well for this assignment.
Secondly, he will be racing on his pet surface. Five of his six victories were on the Polytrack. The Gold Cup was on turf.
So, with form and a track to suit, Time Odyssey will be the horse to beat on Sunday.
After all, he will shoulder only a handy weight, 53.5kg, and jockey Oscar Chavez rode him well last start and is retained for the mount.
Stablemate Perfect P was labelled as a Singapore Derby prospect after his New Year Cup triumph in January but something went amiss after that.
The five-year-old Argentinian-bred went through two short breaks and is now returning to his old self.
Back on a half-year spell on Dec 4, he ran a good third to Daniel, topweight in the New Year Cup, in the Group 3 Colonial Chief Stakes over the Poly 1,700m.
The spell and the run have done him a world of good. If nothing goes wrong again, he is capable of back-to-back New Year Cup success.
One horse most capable of preventing Le Grange of a big victory on his first day of training is trainer Shane Baertschiger's BLUE SWEDE.
The six-year-old ran a blinder last start in the Gold Cup, his first attempt over 2,200m, flying from almost last and wide out to finish third.
He won his trial impressively last week in preparation for the New Year Cup. He will go close.
South Africa preview: Villa Del Largo the one to beat
TODAY'S SOUTH AFRICA (FAIRVIEW) RACE CARD
RACE 1 (1,000M)
(1) LADY AWAY has not done much wrong to date and, although this distance may be a bit sharp for her, she does have a chance.
(2) COVER PAGE showed good pace in her last start and should run well.
(3) FLYWITHWINGS ran a much-improved race last time out.
(8) SKETCHES OF SPAIN and (13) NACRE must also be considered over this course and distance.
RACE 2 (1,200M)
(1) LIGHTNING BOLT disappointed in his recent starts but is drawn well and is right at home over this course and distance.
(2) QUERA is clearly better than his last run would suggest.
(3) ORACLE KINGDOM gets the services of Gavin Lerena and should improve on this surface.
(5) SUDDEN SURPRISE and (6) LADY WILLOW are in good heart and deserve respect.
RACE 3 (1,300M)
(1) CRUZCAMPO has not been beaten far in his last two starts and should go very close in this race.
(2) IMPERIAL GUARD has his first start for the Sharon Kotzen yard and, on his best form, he does set the standard.
(4) OUR ICON has his first run in the in-form Alan Greeff yard and can improve.
(6) STORY OF MY LIFE is clearly better than his last run suggests.
(7) LORD MARSHAL deserves respect.
RACE 4 (1,300M)
(1) BRITISH FAIRY has improved in his new yard and is well drawn, so should go very close to winning. He does try this surface for the first time.
(3) DANCING RUGA and (4) TOPO are in with a say.
(11) MAHE BEAT was running on well when not beaten too far and could do better over this course and distance, so must be considered.
RACE 5 (1,200M)
(1) VILLA DEL LARGO proved a disappointment for most punters last time out but may have been caught too far back. This longer distance does seem to suit him better and he will be the one to beat.
(2) NORMANZ has been beaten by the former many times but was ahead of his rival last time out, so cannot be dismissed.
(4) JUAN TWO THREE is a decent sprinter who is returning from a lay-off.
RACE 6 (1,200M)
(1) L.A. ROCKS is better than her last run and must be included in all exotics.
(4) VARLOTONE is capable on her day but does not always put it in.
(7) WHISTLING WONDER could run a much better race this time even though she is badly drawn.
(8) CHAPEL QUEEN tired late last time out and is also badly drawn but can place.
(10) VANDA has Lerena on top and could be the one to beat.
RACE 7 (1,900M)
(2) NAVAL INTELLIGENCE should run well for jockey Andrew Fortune but he does have (3) THE STONES to beat. The Stones has been in very good form lately and only found Scent half a length too good for him last time out. This track and distance suits The Stones.
(4) MATADOR IN RED is unreliable but is not out of it.
(6) INVITING LILY tired last time out but is capable of doing better.
RACE 8 (1,600M)
(1) KELLIE FIRTH tends to be a bit unreliable but is capable of earning some money.
(2) RED HOT LADY disappointed last time out but had some reasonable form before that and could be the right one for this race.
(3) SAMIAM is well enough drawn and usually runs on nicely so can earn some money.
(5) BRISTOL BLUE and (6) LA MYST have winning chances, too.
WORKOUTS BY SUNDAY'S RUNNERS
RACE 1: Slow work: Luck Dragon, Enlighten Knight and Great Prince.
RACE 2: Right Timing 42.1
Slow work: Messi * and Joyful. RACE 3: Bukit Bintang 41.8.
Slow work: Lightning Rod and Gold Coast Captain.
RACE 4: Slow work: Multiblue Ranch *, Multiblue Tosca, Porsence, Multiblue Shark and Super Boss.
RACE 6: Slow work: Classic Arrow and Mayweather *.
WORKOUTS BY MONDAY'S RUNNERS
RACE 2: Slow work: Avanti *.
RACE 5: Slow work: Truson.
RACE 6: Slow work: Field Force.