Montaigne can win first-up
Singapore race preview
Newcomer and trial winner MONTAIGNE appears to have ability.
Thrown into a Class 4 race seemingly lacking depth, the Shane Baertschiger-trained four-year-old New Zealand-bred can score first time out.
After a free run in his first Kranji trial on Dec 20, Montaigne demonstrated what he was made of with his pure speed and agility in his second trial last Thursday when he took the blinkers test.
Strong and muscular, the bay gelding shot to the front and was never headed again. At the post, he beat a good one in Skywalk and clocked a smart 1min 00.89sec.
Back home, Montaigne raced as Hes Callingcalling and won once from six starts. It was over 1,200m at Matamata on a soft track, clocking 1:13.24 which was pretty good under the wet track conditions.
He also had a third placing, which was also over 1,200m in soft going, so it looks like his chances will be enhanced if the skies open up tonight.
Although he has drawn the widest of 12 runners in the final of nine events, there is nothing to worry. He has abundant speed to cross to the inside and, if allowed to dictate the pace without any disturbance, he should make it pillar to post.
After all, he has one of the safest pair of hands in jockey John Powell, who achieved a milestone with his 500th Kranji winner just 11 days ago.
Powell, a steady rider and a good judge of pace, can kick off tonight's meeting in the opener with the Laurie Laxon-trained MR CONNERY in the Class 5 Div 1 event over 1,600m on the Polytrack.
Mr Connery has been knocking on the door with three seconds in his last six starts.
Last time out just 11 days ago, he looked a tad short of work because of the December break but he ran one hell of a race with Powell astride.
Trapped wide and sensing the lack of pace, Powell took Mr Connery to the front in the Poly 1,700m event. He snatched the run on the rail for the shortest route home and was shouted the winner until outsider Commodore Lincoln got up to beat him by a head.
That was a top run considering he lacked a bit of fitness and carried 58.5kg.
Tonight, besides having the rough edges shaved off him, he gets a 1.5kg relief and his pet trip. Both his wins and two of his four seconds were over the Poly 1,600m. Drawn well in gate 4, Mr Connery need not have to burn extra petrol to go forward. That's another plus.
RDA at the Races on Sunday
As part of its continuous efforts to support the community, the Singapore Turf Club will again play host to the Riding for the Disabled Association of Singapore (RDA) by providing the platform to raise funds on Sunday.
The annual RDA at the Races event is a key fundraiser and it aims to raise $100,000 through the sale of lunch tables and donations this year.
Eugene Yong, honorary chairman of RDA Singapore, said RDA Singapore has been providing free horse-riding therapy sessions to people with special needs over the last 35 years.
"Going forward, we plan to increase the number of beneficiaries served per year by 35 per cent, reduce the average wait time for beneficiaries, from 6-9 months to 3-6 months for a slot in the therapy, and acquire additional therapy horses to support the service expansion," he added.
This is the 10th RDA at the Races and the guest-of-honour is Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry.