Three cheers for Clements
Bang-in-form trainer Michael Clements enjoyed his second treble of the season on Sunday, courtesy of I LIKE, LUCKY MISSION and PINT SIZED PRINCE.
The Zimbabwean-born trainer started 2014 with a big bang by saddling three winners, who included I Like and Lucky Mission. His other winner that day was California Kid.
Sunday's win, in fact, was Lucky Mission's hat-trick and the Argentine-bred gelding is now targeted for the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1,200m on March 30.
The $250,000 feature, which promises to be a thriller with many star three-year-olds in the contest, including 2013 Champion Juvenile War Affair who is the likely favourite, is the first leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge.
The second leg is the $350,000 Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic over 1,400m on April 20.
The series culminates with the $500,000 Group 1 Singapore Guineas over 1,600m on May 16.
Clements said that Lucky Mission, who led all the way with Vagner Leal astride, is "a workman-like type of horse who is still a three-year-old but has always been honest and always does what is asked of him".
He added: "He's been moving up the classes well and still manages to win.
"I expected him to take the lead easily today, as he's a horse with some speed and his next race will probably be the Three-Year-Old Sprint at the end of the month."
As for I Like, Clements had thought that his charge was beaten when Phantom Knight had shot ahead.
But jockey Lisa Allpress, who certainly deserves a medal for her 11 out of 10 ride, persevered and rode like a woman possessed to rally for a shorthead victory (see other story).
PAT ON THE BACK
Allpress received a pat on the back from the trainer for her "great, strong ride" which made all the difference.
Clements himself deserved praise for transforming Pint Sized Prince into a money-spinner for his owner.
Since he took over the horse early last year, he has sent Pint Sized Prince out 14 times for four wins, three seconds and a third.
The Australian-bred had won only once and placed six times from 16 starts when trained by Steven Burridge and then Michael Freedman.
Sunday's treble has brought Clements' season's tally to 11 winners, the same number as Shane Baertschiger, Patrick Shaw and Brian Dean.
Top on the trainer's table are Hideyuki Takaoka and Cliff Brown, with 16 winners apiece.
Freedman, eight-time champion Laurie Laxon and Alwin Tan are next with 15 winners each.
On strike rate, Clements is second on the 26-trainer list at Kranji at 18.03 per cent, just a fraction behind Baertschiger (18.33 per cent). Brown is next at 16.16 per cent.
— Tan Thean Loon, on Clements’ performance this year
Bravo, Lisa, for a great ride
An inspired ride from jockey Lisa Allpress saw I LIKE make a bold mid-race dash and upstage his seven rivals in a Class 4 race over 1,800m on Sunday.
The $87 outsider, whose last success came in Class 5 company two runs back, was one of the best away before being tucked away in a nice spot in third.
But Allpress, obviously unhappy with the way Live In Hope (Nathan Berry) was trying to stack the speed up front, decided to press on at the 1,200m mark.
In one fell swoop, I Like scooted to the front. Giving her mount a breather, Allpress bided her time until the home turn before asking for the supreme effort from her mount.
The cause looked lost for the Michael Clements-trained gelding when Phantom Knight (Erasmus Aslam) snuck up from behind to dive for the rails gap, propelled forward by what appeared to be a greater momentum.
To compound matters further, $16 favourite Golden Lark, who battled in the early stages with his rider Alan Munro, was coming with big strides.
Phantom Knight got at least half a length ahead of I Like, but the tables were soon turned.
The Don Eduardo six-year-old raced away under Allpress' urgings to reel Phantom Knight back and got the verdict by a shorthead.
Golden Lark had every chance but peaked on his run to finish third, one and a quarter lengths away.
Still breathless from her hard toiling, Allpress said: "Mike told me this horse is a one-pacer and, when they slowed up in front, I decided to go forward.
"That's what you have to do with one-batters like him, horses who don't really have a sprint.
"He fought on very well. I don't think he was really picking up again, it was probably more the weight difference (4.5kg) that did it for him in the end.
"It was a very exhausting ride, but well worth it."
Clements praised the Kiwi jockey for her quick-thinking action as well as her never-say-die attitude.
"I thought he was a beaten horse going into the final straight, but it was a great, strong ride from Lisa," he said.
"I told Lisa before the race this horse is a grinder, a one-pacer and that she has to pick him up early. She did a good job at the back, when she let him roll along when they slowed up the pace.
"I honestly didn't think he had a strong chance before the race as he's a Class 5 horse up in Class 4 company, though I have to say the field was not very tough.
"But Lisa's ride, as well as the 50kg my horse had on his back, probably made the difference in the end."
I Like, who was formerly called Notherefornoodles when trained by Stephen Gray, has now recorded five wins and six placings from 37 runs for about $140,000 in stakes for I Like Stable.
It was a very exhausting ride, but well worth it.
— Jockey Lisa Allpress, on I Like’s short head victory over Phantom Knight
Sunday’s Singapore Stipendiary Stewards’ Report highlights
REAL STEEL: Jumped awkwardly.
SAVAGE STORM: Jumped awkwardly.
ZENA: Made contact.
FINAL COUNTDOWN: Made contact; raced keenly when awkwardly placed; a veterinary examination revealed that the horse returned as a roarer and lame off-fore.
BLACK RAIN: Raced wide.
INDULGE: Raced wide.
MAMMA BALLENA: Hung outwards.
CARNIVAL STAR: Steadied.
TOMORROWS DREAMS: Laid outwards.
FUKU'S PET: Eased after being held up.
CIVIL UNION: Jumped awkwardly inwards; made contact; buffeted.
STATE GENERAL: Made contact.
SUPER JOY: Taken inwards.
LUTONG GARDEN: Hung outwards.
WINDSOR KNOT: Raced wide.
I'M KOOL: Returned cast near-fore plate.
PHANTOM KNIGHT: Slow into stride after jumping awkwardly.
IRISH REBEL: Raced keenly.
INCREDIBLE HULK: Raced wide; jockey I Santana reported that Incredible Hulk was not striding out freely.
GOLDEN LARK: Tendency to lay outwards; carried wide.
LIVE IN HOPE: Carried wide.
OVER EASY: Lost ground after beginning awkwardly.
STREET CHAMP: Slow into stride.
FAITHFUL WARRIOR: Raced wide.
ZAC SEDUCTION: Made contact; eased; brushed; carried wide.
ACCOMPLISHED: Made contact; laid inwards, obliging his rider to stop riding and straighten his mount on a number of occasions.
JOHN OF ARCH: Hampered; steadied.
DAAD'S THE WAY: Shifted outwards to obtain clear running; brushed.
SUPER LUCKY POWER: Jockey T Affandi reported that Super Lucky Power was not striding out freely.
TROPICAL FOREST: Bumped.
LUCKY DAPPER: Raced keenly.
PISTOL DAWN: Raced wide.
ANODOUBT: Was late to the pre-race holding area, resulting in his pre-race sample not being able to be analysed within the prescribed time. As such, the horse was withdrawn. An inquiry into this matter will be held.
CASINO KING: Restless in the barrier.
LION BAROWS: Slow into stride.
MONTREAL GOLD: Brushed; raced poorly.
BRILLIANT POWER: Brushed.
CALLIDE RIVER: Raced keenly.
KNIGHT SPIRIT: Stood flat-footed and lost considerable ground.
LUCKY COME: Jumped inwards.
MR MANI: Steadied when racing tight on two occasions; jockey I Saifudin dropped his off-side rein which he regained shortly thereafter.
GEARIGURU: Raced wide.
DO ME A FAVOUR: Raced wide.
GLIMMERING: Bumped; difficult to settle.
CALIFORNIA KID: Bumped.
ALWAYS A WINNER: Eased when racing tight; checked.
SACRED CROWN: Raced wide.
JET SET: Rolled outwards when giving ground.
LOYAL FRIENDS: Lost ground at the start after jumping awkwardly; made contact.
SPEED DEMON: Made contact.
BM WIN: Slow into stride; raced wide; jockey A Munro reported that BM Win was not striding out freely; a veterinary examination revealed that the horse exhibited signs of respiratory distress after the race and returned as a roarer.
BENJI'S EMPIRE: Got his head up on a couple of occasions; eased when steadied outwards.
SUPER STRIKE: Began awkwardly; taken inwards.
VISIONARY: Began awkwardly; taken inwards; steadied.
THAT'STHEONE: Bumped; raced wide.
XIN TREASURE: Raced wide.
NOT SIMPLE: Steadied.
CHINO DIABLO: Jockey S Sam reported that Chino Diablo was not striding out freely; a veterinary examination revealed that the horse exhibited signs of respiratory distress after the race.
CAPTAIN KIRK: Trainer L Khoo, when questioned regarding the significant increase in the body weight of Captain Kirk, said that the gelding had returned from a lengthy spell since his last start due to an injury. He added the gelding has had two satisfactory trials since and, in his opinion, fit to start; a veterinary examination passed the horse to race.
SUPER SIX: Jumped awkwardly.
ORIENTAL PEARL: Jumped awkwardly.
ULTIMATE WARRIOR: Crowded; steadied; held up.
MAGIC OCEAN: Crowded.
OASIS SPUR: Taken inwards; inclined to lay inwards; raced wide.
AGENAIS: Raced tight.
ECLAIR SENSATION: Raced wide.