Kok pins hopes on Castor
The absence of AFFLECK, trainer Laurie Laxon's up-and-coming juvenile, has thrown tomorrow's Inglis Sydney Better Life Stakes (1,000m) wide open and has paved the way for another promising two-year-old to stake his claim in the $90,000 race on the Polytrack.
Serving notice of his potential at Tuesday's barrier trials was the David Kok-trained CASTOR, who looks primed for a bold bid in the penultimate leg of the six-race Singapore Golden Horseshoe series, which has been dominated by Laxon with three victories.
Ridden by apprentice Troy See, the Australian-bred gelding donned blinkers for the first time and clocked a brisk 1min 0.65sec and was beaten only by classy galloper Pioneer Seven, who has won five times, including at Kranji Stakes A level.
Winners, like the one by Italian Job last December, have been hard to come by for trainer David Kok.
"It was a nice trial by him and it showed that he's a young horse with some potential," said Kok. "My only concern is that dropping to 1,000m might be a bit short for him, given the way he ran on in his last start."
The IB Racing Stable-owned youngster may have finished a distant sixth and almost 10 lengths behind eventual winner Affleck two weeks ago in the Inglis Melbourne Stepitup Stakes (1,200m), but there were positives to be drawn from his debut.
"He didn't jump very well and started quite poorly but he was finishing very well," said the Singaporean handler. "We also felt he was losing concentration, so hopefully the blinkers will help him focus better this time out."
More than half of the 11-horse field will be making their debuts under the floodlights and Kok was not sure what to expect, given the lack of form of many of the runners.
"It's going to be quite an open race, so a lot will depend on luck and what kind of barrier draw you get," he said. "But now that Laurie's horse isn't racing, it probably gives everyone else a better chance."
Kif Toh suspended
Wonder apprentice Kif Toh will miss the Kranji races on Sunday as he serves a two-day suspension for careless riding.
Toh, in the presence of his master, trainer Michael Clements, pleaded guity to the charge at an inquiry held on May 2.
It was determined that while riding Pacino in Race 10 at Kranji on April 20, Toh allowed his mount to shift inwards when insufficiently clear of other runners.
This happened at around the 1,100m mark and, as a result, AMERICAN VISION, the mount of David Flores, had to be checked.
As Toh had been engaged to ride at the Singapore race meeting tomorrow, the Stewards allowed him to serve his suspension on Saturday and Sunday.