Racing

Damsel gets a nod from a Knight

Champion trainer Clements nominates 4kg-claiming rookie Jerlyn Seow for his stable star

It is not a case of youth over experience. It is a manageable 54kg as opposed to a crushing 58kg.

And Singapore champion trainer Michael Clements is backing youth as he gives fellow trainer Mark Walker's apprentice Jerlyn Seow the vote of confidence on one of his stable stars in Top Knight on Saturday.

The thumbs-up from a trainer like Clements is a huge boost to Seow's confidence.

After all, the ride on Top Knight is, by far, the most high-profile ride the rookie has been assigned from her 100-odd mounts since she began race-riding in January.

Clements rightfully said that the 4kg claim outweighs her relative inexperience .

"Top Knight is a simple horse to ride. He gets back and just needs to make a bit of a run before turning for home," said the Zimbabwe-born trainer, who had spoken to regular jockey Vlad Duric.

"With the weight he gets, over 1,400m, it's almost impossible for him to make ground unless we take some weight off his back. Vlad understood and I was happy to put Jerlyn on."

In four starts since that remarkable last-to-first win under a deluge in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup over 1,800m on Oct 31, the Falcon Racing No. 7 Stable-owned galloper has been unable to make it to win No. 10. But Clements said there were valid reasons. The 1,200m trip in the Lion City Cup and the 2,000m Gold Cup distance were not ideal.

As for last month's fifth in the Kranji Mile, Clements said Top Knight was not suited to the track conditions.

"The track was pretty fast that day," he said. "And the horse in front (Fame Star) got away. On the short course, he had too much ground to make.

"He likes a bit of sting out of the ground. But that day, there was no rain and they couldn't water the track that day because of some problem with the sprinklers. The race just didn't suit him. A bit of rain will help his cause this week."

Clements is aware Top Knight has not quite reproduced that spark that saw him win two Group 1 races last year, albeit he also ran the odd howler, but he remained confident the motor was still there.

"He's not at his peak, he's not at his best, that's for sure," he admitted.

"But he's in good enough form. He's certainly fit and well within himself. So, we will just keep pointing him towards and preparing him for those big races later in the year."

HORSE RACING