Nunes mulls over Infantry's 'weight'
Champion jockey Manoel Nunes said that back-from-injury Infantry has given no signs that would make him a doubtful starter for next Sunday's Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup.
The son of Tavistock was all poised to tackle the second Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown series after landing the first leg, the Group 1 Panasonic Kranji Mile over 1,600m on Oct 1, but a deep cut sustained during the run put paid to those plans.
Knowing such an injury would not heal in time, Infantry was a non-starter in the Group 1 Raffles Cup on Oct 22.
Trainer Alwin Tan was, however, still confident he would be fit and ready for the grand final.
Nunes, who also landed his second Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby win with Infantry (Spalato in 2014) in July, has three concerns: The trip, the interrupted training and the weight, with the biggest skew on the latter.
"Infantry didn't give me the impression there was anything amiss with him when I galloped him." said Nunes.
"But there are three things that are still at the back of my mind. First, he missed the last race (Raffles Cup) and that did upset his training. Even if he didn't win the Raffles Cup, it would have still been an important part of the prep.
"Then of course, the distance of 2,200m he is going over for the first time. Still, he's a class horse and I am quite confident he will run out the trip.
"The main worry is the handicap. He's a tough horse and he can carry heavy weights. It's more the pull in weights that I'm talking about. On his rating of 109, he will definitely give weight to a lot of horses and that can be hard, especially when he is going over a distance like that for the first time."
In the last 15 Singapore Gold Cups run at Kranji, only Smart Bet won with 59kgs.
"Staying is one thing and I am confident from the way he won the Derby, he will run out another furlong, but, like they say, weight can stop a train," said Nunes.
"However, the thing about Infantry is he is always underestimated, but he has always come out and won when not expected. Let's hope he can do it again, get a good run and still beat the odds."