Minister set for battle
Donna Logan's runner has muscled up for QE II Cup
We thought yesterday morning at Kranji would resemble the trooping of the colours. But it wasn't quite like that.
Just a handful of horses entered for Saturday's running of the Queen Elizabeth II Cup were out stretching their limbs on the training track.
Among them - and most impressive - was Minister.
With regular hoop A'Isisuhairi Kasim doing the navigating, Minister turned on the turbos to run 600m in 36.5sec. The workout was on grass.
The other QE II candidate who caught the eye was Hard Too Think. He had Marc Lerner in the irons when running 600m in 37.5sec on the Polytrack.
Hard Too Think was paced by stablemate Runminderbinderrun, who is entered for the Class 5 event over the mile.
But, with the majestic warship HMS Queen Elizabeth - on its maiden voyage - berthed at Changi in the eastern part of Singapore, the eyes up north were all on Minister.
Trained by Donna Logan, Minister brings good form into Saturday's race.
We saw that at a trial some two weeks ago, when he ran second to Sacred Rebel over the Polytrack 1,000m.
A winner of the Group 1 Kranji Mile in May, he was quietly fancied in the Raffles Cup just last month.
But it turned out to be a race best forgotten - as far as his connections are concerned.
That day, Minister plodded home eighth in that contest won by Lim's Lightning.
Logan has put him through his paces and he has muscled up. Come the weekend, he should parade like a good thing.
With a rating of 80, Hard Too Think is 31 points away from Lim's Lightning and 21 adrift of Minister.
But, when push comes to shove, the connections of Hard Too Think know that their guy isn't in the line-up just to boost the numbers.
He is going to fight tooth and nail and it will be suicidal to give him a wide berth just because of the ratings.
Hard Too Think is a contender and the 1,800m trip will fit like a glove.
Owned and trained by Stephen Gray, he captured the $400,000 Singapore Derby in July. In his last start, he ran third to Nepean over 1,400m.
That outing, coupled with his hit-out yesterday, should have Hard Too Think in fighting condition for that battle royale which is the Queen Elizabeth II Cup.