Racing

Plans to race Countofmontecristo in Australia aborted

In a change of plans, Countofmontecristo will not be heading to compete in Australia.

Booked to head Down Under a couple of weeks ago, the smart Michael Clements-trained miler will in the end stay put at Kranji.

After reshuffling his options, owner Joe Giovanni Singh has come back on his decision to send his charge to Australia to continue his racing career.

Singh had earlier felt that Countofmontecristo faced limited opportunities in Singapore, given the shortage of races that suited his five-year-old son of Echoes Of Heaven, especially on the short course.

The original plan was to send Countofmontecristo to one of Singh's trainers in Australia, the Newcastle-based Kris Lees, to target some feature races in Melbourne and Perth, and eventually come back to Kranji for another crack at next year's Group 1 Kranji Mile, in which he finished fifth to Southern Legend at his last start on May 25.

Countofmontecristo had already entered quarantine last Thursday with 2016 Singapore Horse of the Year Debt Collector, who will then be travelling solo to Australia in a few weeks' time.

"After seeing the latest Singapore racing programme for August and September races, I noticed that the Raffles Cup will be run over 1,600m on the Short Course," explained Singh about his about-face.

"I have then decided to pull Count back from quarantine to race in the Raffles Cup. The short course is what suits him as he is a race-forward type of horse.

"He will still keep Debt Collector company in quarantine for another week and will return to Mike Clements' stable on June 20 to start race preparation."

Countofmontecristo has been a story of "close but no cigar" at the elite level.

The winner of the first two Legs of the 2017 Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge boasts a smart record of seven wins and eight placings for close to $1.35 million in prize money.

But the horse has not saluted for more than 21 months - since Sept 10, 2017 in the Group 3 Jumbo Jet Trophy over 1,400m on the long course.

HORSE RACING