Minister set for Singapore Derby date
Trainer Lee Freedman's hat-trick hero tops yesterday morning's trials
While 12 of the 14 candidates for Saturday's Singapore Derby stretched their legs and flexed their muscles on the training track, trainer Lee Freedman's Minister and Ocean Crossing were sent to the trials and both pulled up looking good.
Minister won that 1,000m hit-out. Ocean Crossing wasn't out to make time and rolled along to beat just one home.
Ridden by Freedman's top pick from the riding ranks, A'Isisuhairi "Harry" Kasim, Minister came home in 60.37sec.
While it did seem like a leisurely gallop, it turned out to be the fastest of the morning of the four trials.
Yes, there was plenty to like. The fact that he was doing his best work late in the trial, did seem to suggest that come Saturday, he will be one of those who will be charging home at the business-end of things.
Minister was in no great hurry yesterday. Indeed, when the six runners in Trial 3 settled into stride, he was holding up the rear with Ocean Crossing.
However, he didn't stay there for long. Clearing the back straight, his rider began to urge him along. By the time they had hit the 600m marker, Minister was in fourth spot - and flowing freely.
Out in front, Helushka, Asgard Massif and Sincerely were going at it hammer and tongs.
Minister had them in his sights and it was only at the 200m mark that his rider "clicked" him into action.
Minister responded and in that rush to the line, he beat Sincerely by a neck. Asgard Massif ran third, close behind.
Freedman shouldn't have had any complaints.
Minister seems as tight as a piano wire and ready to go. As for the Derby trip of 1,800m, like many of the others, this will be his first attempt at the distance. But, from what we have seen of his previous races, he should see out the trip.
Putting aside the Derby for a while, Mowgli went into many notebooks as a horse to follow.
Another one from trainer Michael Clements' yard, he is one of those lesser lights yet to shine at Kranji. But, looking at how he disposed of his rivals yesterday, we should see him running some good races in the not-too-distant future.
With Louis-Phillipe Beuzelin on the reins, Mowgli - sired by Jungle Pocket, owned by the Jungle Stable and named after that jungle boy from Rudyard Kipling's novels - ran his rivals ragged.
Clearing the chute cleanly, Beuzelin took him to the front long before the 600m marker. From then, they were never passed.
Putting on speed over the final 200m, Mowgli went further ahead. He eventually took the trial by over six lengths. The Japanese-bred clocked 61.20sec.
Mowgli's best race was when he ran third to Frey over the flying 1,000m. He can do better.
Also impressive on the day was High Limit.
Ridden by Saifudin Ismail, he took charge at the top of the straight and drew away to win by 61/4 lengths in his starting stall test. Trained by Jerome Tan, High Limit's last win was 11 months ago.