Minister has royal credentials
Queen Elizabeth II Cup runners turn up on the training track
A good thing beaten in the Raffles Cup on Oct 10, Minister gets his chance to put things right in the $400,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Saturday.
From Lee Freedman's yard, he was among half a dozen or so Cup candidates who went against the clock on the training track yesterday morning.
With A'isisuhairi Kasim doing the steering, he went with gusto over 600m in 35.8sec.
A son of Street Sense, he has been a prolific money-spinner for the King Power Stable.
Indeed, he is closing in on the $250,000 mark in stake money earned and a top-three showing in the QE II Cup will put him over that mark.
He is still far from joining Kranji's million-dollar club. But, hey, he has raced only seven times - and three of those races offered trophies to the winning owners.
He was unplaced in the Silver Bowl, when making his Kranji debut in February.
Three wins followed in non-feature events, before he took third behind Top Knight and Elite Incredible in the Singapore Derby in August and a fourth-placed finish in the Raffles Cup.
Last time out, he was touted as a good thing and punters sent him off as the fourth pick in the $400,000 Raffles Cup race. Ridden by top apprentice Simon Kok, he was doing his best work over the concluding stages.
Unfortunately for him, so too were Aramaayo and Countofmontecristo, who took first and third respectively.
That race was over the mile and Minister should appreciate the extra furlong on Saturday.
Same too with the five-year-old Aramaayo, who had Matthew Kellady on the reins in his workout. He is an out-and-out stayer who will relish the QE II Cup distance of 1,800m.
Trained by Shane Baertschiger, Aramaayo came with a pulverising run to claim the Raffles Cup.
It was a carbon copy of his win in the Kranji Mile.
That day in mid-August, jockey Ruan Maia had him settled in a spot off midfield.
From there, he stalked the speed before turning on the glitz with that barnstorming finish.
With the race being over the long course, Aramaayo is a definite player. He must be accorded every ounce of respect on his workout.
Then, of course, there is Countofmontecristo, who worked with Louis-Philippe Beuzelin in the saddle.
Like always on the big occasions, he will be in the midst of the action.
Already a seven-year-old, some might say he is long in the tooth.
That is true. But "The Count" does not know that he is a senior in the yard.
He still loves his racing. Come Saturday, trainer Mark Walker will send him out looking like royalty.