Infantry blazes the Kranji training track
Reigning Horse of the Year all fired up for Saturday's $200,000 Fortune Bowl
Infantry, crowned 2017 Horse of the Year just last month, can kick off his 2018 campaign with a bang on Saturday's Chinese New Year meeting .
The Alwin Tan-trained and Thai-owned galloper showed in his trackwork at Kranji yesterday morning that he was fit and fresh for the $200,000 Group 3 Fortune Bowl over 1,400m.
Taken out by high-riding French jockey Ryan Curatolo, the multiple Group-winning New Zealand-bred travelled nicely under his own steam on the outer side of the Polytrack and covered the 600m training track in 35.2sec.
The five-year-old pulled up as if he just had a leisurely morning stroll. There was still plenty of petrol in his tank.
For his comeback, Infantry had also been put through two barrier trials and he finished second in both. It was obvious he was not out to break any records on both occasions, so his runs were very impressive, indeed.
Trainer Tan was very pleased with both his trials and yesterday's easy gallop.
"I would say his condition is perfect. I was very happy he didn't really go that fast. As you could see, he galloped on the outer track because I told the rider the inside track was not so good, and the horse just came back from his injury after the Singapore Gold Cup," said the 2016 Singapore champion.
"I was also very happy with his last trial. Even though he ran second,Curatolo did not force him. He let him relax and settle down.
"He's getting more mature and is doing everything right. Overall, I'm very satisfied with his work.
"I spoke to Curatolo and he said he was very happy with the horse. In fact, a few trainers offered him a ride in the Fortune Bowl but he picked Infantry, so the horse must be good."
Infantry has not raced since his fifth placing to Gilt Complex with the top impost of 57.5kg in the $1.35 million Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup over 2,200m last November.
So, freshness will again be the keyword in Infantry's comeback bid over a trip deemed as a bit short for the bay gelding.
"He's fresh. Remember the Merlion Trophy which he won over the Polytrack 1,200m? I'm adopting the same training tactic. The trip, to me, is a bit short but he's fresh.
"I don't know how fast the pace will be but he could race a bit nearer the leaders and not too far back. A fast pace will be better because of his top weight."
Being the highest-rated runner at 114 points, Infantry is handicapped at 58kg, giving weight all round.
"The weight is a bit of a concern but I just hope his class will see him through on Saturday," said Tan.
Several other Fortune Bowl candidates also went against the clock yesterday morning and the one shaping as the biggest threat to Infantry is Clarton Super.
The Tan Kah Soon-trained last-start Group 2 EW Barker Trophy winner was taken out by winning jockey Azhar Ismail for a two-round workout on the Polytrack.
After warming up with a round of cantering exercise, Clarton Super clapped on the pace in his second lap to cover the final 600m in 35.5.
The five-year-old Australian-bred looked in top trim and should give Infantry a run for the money.