Siam Sapphire defies promotion to score again
Trainer Clements not ruling out the weight-for-age Group 2 Merlion Trophy for his progressing Polytrack star
The improving Siam Sapphire defied a rise in grade from Class 3 to Class 2 with his light weight to follow up in the most valuable race at Kranji yesterday.
The Michael Clements-trained four-year-old was a tad slow to begin, but lightweight Mauritian jockey Nooresh Juglall managed to get his mount to make up ground beautifully after jumping from the inner-most barrier.
Although it was Juglall's first partnership with the horse, he rode it like he knew it all his life, steering the Pupetch Racing-owned New Zealand-bred to sit just behind the leaders in a striking position in the $100,000 Polytrack 1,200m event.
Fellow last-start winner Nova Missile, who started favourite but was overtaken by Siam Sapphire late in the betting, led past the 800m by almost a length from Happy Money with a 24.66sec first sectional. Then came Justice Day and Siam Sapphire.
Nova Missile shot down Happy Money on straightening but found Siam Sapphire creeping up menacingly on the inside. Justice Day took a wider route to challenge.
But he’ll have to come into that race at weight- for-age, which probably won’t suit him. But, yeah, he’s going so good on the Poly, we’ll certainly look at it.Trainer Michael Clements, on Siam Sapphire’s Merlion Trophy option
The trio were almost in a line midway down the straight. Then Siam Sapphire, with the minimum 50kg load, started to move away for a three-quarter-length victory in 1min 12.69sec.
The Shane Baertschiger-trained $96 outsider Guilty Pleasures charged home from way back under jockey Craig Grylls to beat Nova Missile for second.
The winner, who paid $15 for a win, has been a model of consistency since moving from trainer James Peters to Clements.
It was his fourth success under Clements, with two thirds from four other starts.
Peters also had a fairly good time with the horse, enjoying a win, two seconds and two thirds from 10 outings.
Siam Sapphire's five wins have all been on the Polytrack and he has been progressing with each run to earn recognition for better things.
"During those eight starts, he he has had a couple of placings and one run he had an interference. Things didn't go his way and, yeah, he seems to love the Polytrack and he has been climbing through the divisions,"said Clements.
MERLION TROPHY OPTION
Although the second leg of the Singapore Sprint Series - the $500,000 Group 2 Merlion Trophy over the Polytrack 1,200m - is a weight-for-age affair, Clements is not ruling out the April 27 race following Siam Sapphire's latest victory.
"Well, it's certainly has to be an option. You know, he has come on really well, we've got to look at it. But he'll have to come into that race at weight-for-age, which probably won't suit him. But, yeah, he's going so good on the Poly, we'll certainly look at it," said the former Zimbabwean champion.
"Today, with 50kg, Nooresh rode him perfectly. He bounced him out of the barrier and got him right behind the leaders. You know, he's probably has had a hard preparation but, with the way the horse is progressing, it's certainly an option."
Juglall was thankful for his light weight to get the ride on Siam Sapphire but was unsure how the horse would measure up at weight-for-age in the Merlion Trophy.
"You know, sometimes it's luck that you can ride at 50kg and got the opportunity, and you grab it with both hands," he said.
"I think he's better in a handicap race. You know, with a light weight, he'll be doing his best but I'm not sure how good he is at weight-for-age level. In a race which he gets a weight allowance, he's very competitive.
"Today, he's a little bit slow out of the gate but, when I got him behind Nova Missile, I knew I had something in hand. In the straight, I just waited for the run to open up on the inside and, when it did, he gave a nice kick and won a decent race."