Could Be Pearls could shine
Trainer Cliff Brown hopes his fighting-fit charge can finish in top three in Sunday's Group 1 Singapore Guineas
Trainer Cliff Brown is confident COULD BE PEARLS can run up to his best ability in the Group 1 Singapore Guineas over 1,600m on Sunday, but thinks he still faces a stiff task against the two big guns, Countofmontecristo and Jupiter Gold.
The son of Alamosa was clearly one of the protagonists in the second leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic over 1,400m on April 14.
Despite not getting a clean break and not getting a clear run in the home straight, Could Be Pearls (R Shafiq) darted back to the inside to motor home for a half-length second to the undefeated Countofmontecristo.
Jupiter Gold was even further back than him, after copping a few checks before steaming home from the ruck for an eye-catching third place, one-and-a-quarter lengths away.
Could Be Pearls will certainly lap up Sunday's extra 200m, arguably so too for Countofmontecristo and Jupiter Gold, but Brown can afford to console himself his charge is now bursting out of his skin.
"He's fit and well. The winner was simply too good in the second leg," said Brown. in his usual no-nonsense way.
"Jupiter Gold was very unlucky in that race and I have no doubt he will be even better over the mile.
"I couldn't be happier with the way Could Be Pearls has trained since his last run.
He's fit and well... I couldn't be happier with the way Could Be Pearls has trained since his last run... I would be really pleased if he finishes in the first three.Trainer Cliff Brown, on Could Be Pearls
"He had a nice quiet trial last Thursday.
"Michael Rodd was very happy with that trial and he knows the horse very well.
"I would be really pleased if he finishes in the first three."
Besides being owned by the Victorian-based Barree Stable, headed by Glenn Whittenbury and ridden by Michael Rodd, Could Be Pearls seems to have also followed the same blueprint as Brown's 2016 champion three-year-old Debt Collector as far as his three-year-old campaign goes.
Debt Collector, a son of Thorn Park, also skipped the Sprint, which was considered too short for his aptitudes, before bagging both the Classic and the Guineas.
But Brown does not even want to go down that path of comparison, being just happy to train a champion and an up-and-comer for the same lucky connections. To put it simply, to him, the world is not Could Be Pearls' oyster yet.
"Could Be Pearls could have done what Debt Collector did if he had won the second leg, but he didn't," said the Australian handler.
"They are not comparable. I just want Could Be Pearls to run his own race on Sunday."
On Debt Collector, Brown said the reigning Singapore Horse of the Year was not far from a racing comeback since his unsuccessful trip to Dubai in March when he ran unplaced in the US$6 million (S$8.46 million) Group 1 Dubai Turf over 1,800m.
"Debt Collector is trialling next Thursday week. All good's with him," said Brown.
"He will be running in the Stewards' Cup first-up."
The Group 2 Stewards' Cup over 1,400m kicks off the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge on May 28, followed by the Group 1 Patron's Bowl (1,600m) on June 18 and the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (2,000m) on July 9.