Touch me not won't shy away again
With Touch Me Not pulling up without a hitch after his rousing gallop on Wednesday, trainer Michael Clements has given the Elusive City three-year-old the all-clear to run in the Kranji Stakes C race over 1,200m this Sunday.
The Zimbabwean-born trainer had been erring on the side of caution as Touch Me Not came back with a heart murmur after his last run in a similar Kranji Stakes C race four weeks ago, when the previous three-from-three winner (all recorded last year) tasted defeat for the first time.
Jumping from a wide alley for Nooresh Juglall, he sat one-off outside the leader but punctured in the run home to finish more than 10 lengths off the winner Good News.
The heart setback gave Clements no choice but to shelve plans to run him in the Group 3 CECF Singapore Prestige Classic over 1,400m, which he won anyway with Kiwi Karma last Sunday.
But, after Touch Me Not worked a treat on Track 6 down the back and more importantly, showed no untoward signs upon recovery, it's all systems go for Sunday.
"He just stopped at the 300m at his last run. We then found out he came back with a heart murmur," said Clements.
"The vets confirmed that a horse with such an irregular heartbeat does stop like that. It was a shame as I was planning to run him in that China Horse Club race.
"He passed a barrier test on Saturday and seems to be clear, but I just wanted to see how he galloped to confirm whether he gets a run on Sunday.
"It was a very pleasing gallop. In fact, it was one of his better workouts so far.
"Juglall, who will be aboard on Sunday as well, was also very happy with the gallop. If all goes well, I will then set him for the 3YO series."
Clements set for busy year
It looks like Michael Clements will be more than a bit player in this year's Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, which kicks off with the Group 3 Dester Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1,200m on March 29.
Besides Kiwi Karma and Touch Me Not, he can also count on two of his much-hyped group of six Argentine-breds, Blue Danube and Ode To Joy, the latter being the first to test the Singapore waters on Feb 13, when a closing third to Jimmy Rea in a Class 4 race over 1,200m.
"It was a very positive run as he probably needs longer," said Clements of Ode To Joy who, like his other five stablemates, has a name inspired by classical music.
"He won two races over 1,400m in Argentina and we bought him as a miler proposition. I'm aiming him towards the Guineas.
"I'll probably give him another 1,200m race in a week or two and I don't think I'll run him in the first leg."
The Group 1 Singapore Guineas is the third and final leg of the 3YO Challenge and will be held on May 15.
Today, Clements will give a second Argentinian her baptism of fire, Ride Of Valkyries, the only mare of the lot bought by relative newcomer Jubilant Racing Stable. By Orpen, like Ode To Joy, the four-year-old will run in the $80,000 Class 3 race over 1,400m.
"She was a Group 1-winning filly in Argentina and was considered one of the better fillies there," he said.
"We normally get colts most of the time from Argentina and it'll be interesting to see how she goes. She also needs further and is a Derby hope, but I think 1,400m will be good for her first-up."
Australian jockey Michael Rodd, who rode Ode To Joy, has been given the steering job on Ride Of Valkyries, whom he rode to fourth in a barrier trial on Feb 17.
Among the other four Argentinians, the higher-rated Pachelbel's Canon (97) and Blue Danube (81) are next in line to face the starter.
"Pachelbel's Canon is another Group 1-winning horse (Gran Premio Estrellas Mile). He ran second in his trial (same as the one Ride Of Valkyries finished fourth in) last week," said Clements.
"He will probably need to trial again. He has a rating of 97 and I plan to run him first-up in the Merlion Trophy (over 1,200m on Polytrack on March 15).
"Blue Danube is a Derby winner in Argentina and has had a similar prep to Ode To Joy. He would probably prefer a 1,400m first-up but I think he's classy enough to run the 1,200m of the first leg of the 3YO series first-up."
As for Bach's Air and Palladio, both three-year-olds by Not For Sale, Clements said they would make their Singapore debut much later as they needed a few more tune-ups.
They will all be saluting Sir Duke
RACE 1 (1,200M)
(5) MOCK MAMBO was rested after putting up a decent debut behind Chestevin and should get into the action here.
(8) SANCTUARY found good support on debut and should know more about it now. Watch the betting on the first-timers.
RACE 2 (1,000M)
(2) PARADISE COVE flew late when beating (5) ROCK OF VICTORY on debut. He was put away for a short time and comes back with a money chance.
The horse to beat and possible best bet on the card is (1) JUAN TWO THREE, who found betting support when winning on debut. That win was very impressive and JUAN TWO THREE looks to have a good future ahead of him.
RACE 3 (1,600M)
An open start to the Place Accumulator where money for a runner must be noted. (1) JUDD'S GIRL is drawn wide but must have a winning chance.
(2) SEATTLE LASS should also give a good account of herself.
(3) SOVEREIGN SPEECH and (10) MISSINGLINK have their first starts in Port Elizabeth and could get into the mix.
(9) JOY OF HOPE is not out of it.
RACE 4 (1,400M)
(1) DANCE AND DESTROY has his first start in his new province and must be the one to beat if repeating best form.
(2) WELL INFORMED stayed on nicely last time out and should also get into the shake up.
(8) I WILL BE tries further and will have his followers.
(9) LESSFLASHMORECASH has found some kind of form and can earn.
RACE 5 (1,400M)
(4) SIR DUKE on paper looks to be the right one and, judged by riding arrangements, could be the preferred runner from the Tara Laing stable.
But stable companion (7) PRINCIPLED should give some cheek and has a chance over this trip.
(8) TAARISH could upset the party in his first start in Port Elizabeth. He has a light mass and could get away if in the mood.
RACE 6 (2,000M)
(1) ASTRO NEWS is a talented sort on his day and could get it right here. He has raced against the best of his generation and found massive betting support when he last raced at this course. He ran on late that day and will benefit from another patient ride.
(2) CROWN OF GOLD comes back from a short rest and should be a factor.
RACE 7 (1,000M)
(2) SEDGE should have won more races but does have seven wins to his name. He could make it eight today particularly over this course and distance. (3) BLACKMALKIN can bounce back to best form and should get into the action.
(1) TETELESTAI and (5) STORMY RIDGE are two others that make some appeal. They must be given consideration when planning the novelty bets.