Dark Knight set to surprise

Dark Knight set to surprise

Larry Foley, Singapore – While exposed race form is usually the best form, it also pays to keep an eye on the trials of some horses ready to improve – something to keep in mind ahead of the nine-race meeting at Kranji on Friday 14 February 2020.

And while WONDERFUL KNIGHT doesn’t have to improve much on his last run to win in Class 4 over 1200m on the Poly in Race 3, he is first-up after a spell so his smart recent trial is a good pointer to his chances.

It’s also worth noting his last win – back in April last year – was also first-up in a similar affair to this and he may run this lot off their feet with perhaps the Class dropper in CALCULATION his biggest danger.

In a very weak Class 5 over 1200m on the Poly (Race 5), DARK KNIGHT looks to be hopelessly out of form – and truth be told he may just be no good – but his recent trials with blinkers added suggests he may improve lengths and the race is weak enough to think any improvement could see a result at odds.

In Race 7, VESONTIO should improve on some poor recent form over unsuitable trips as he steps up to 1600m and his good recent trial is also a pointer that he is ready to show his best with gate 2 a bonus.

LIZAZ in the lucky last also comes off a nice trial and while he is resuming against some handy types that include MIG PIERRO and LIMITED EDITION, he has no weight and hopefully the trial form holds up.


Best Bets:


DARK KNIGHT Race 5, value

VESONTIO Race 7, value.



Race 6: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10,

Race 7: 1, 2, 7

Race 8: 2, 3, 8, 11

Race 9: 1, 2, 3, 4, 9


Race-by-race guide

Race 1


A Class 5 with plenty of depth to open the card and at least five come off runs that suggest they can win this. OVERCOMING did look to have every chance over 1100m last start before being swamped late but the fact blinkers go off and he has handled this trip previously suggests he will be right in the finish. Likewise the maiden KING’S LANDING looked the winner late in a similar affair to this and he should break his maiden status sooner rather than later with Simon Kok a factor. PEARL KING, HERO STAR and SILVER WAY all placed at their previous starts and no reason to think they don’t figure heavily at the business end. The veteran PIONEER SEVEN, NOVA FACTOR and MASTER SOMMELIER can be included in exotics. Betting Strategy – OVERCOMING win.

1 OVERCOMING *** Had every chance last start but may be better suited over 1200m with blinkers off and should look the winner at some stage.

2 PIONEER SEVEN ** Veteran who has found form but hasn’t won for a long time and gate 12 should test.

3 SILVER WAY *** Will need luck from the gate but showed last start why Class 5 this trip is his caper and can figure.

4 HERO STAR *** Looks due, race suits and will be doing best late.

5 NOVA FACTOR ** Excuses last start and gets blinkers back on and did look due so keep safe.

6 PEARL KING *** Ran on well to place last start this trip and track and gets Duric so has to be considered.

7 KING’S LANDING *** Maiden who looked the winner at stages in similar Class 5 Company last start and gets his chance with Simon Kok a factor.

8 MASTER SOMMELIER ** Another maiden who improved in Class 5 last start and should strip fitter so keep safe.

9 KRANJI GOLD * Tongue-tie on back in trip but easier to ignore.

10 LUCK MAK MAK * Struggled last start after winning a weak one two back. Might find this too tough.

11 RED ROAR * Can go forward but struggles at the business end.

12 SUPER WIN * Goes OK on his day but hard to have on what he has shown at his last two runs.


Race 2


Not a lot of exposed form to go on, so two newcomers with good trial form under their belts in KNIGHT LOVE and LADY FAST can win on debut. Of the two, KNIGHT LOVE probably has the better trial form to his name with two solid wins and given he is a US-bred 3YO, he only has to carry 53.5kg and that may make a difference late. He does have to jump from gate 11 though and LADY FAST gets to jump from gate 1 and that is definitely in her favour and her trial suggests she is in this for a long way. Of the raced-brigade, KHARISMA probably starts favourite after placing on debut and with John Powell retaining the ride, a more forward showing is expected and he gets his chance in this field. Not many others appeal, although KAKADU, CAPONE and SPEED RACER will keep them honest. Betting Strategy – market a good guide, KNIGHT LOVE win.

1 CAPONE ** Slowly improving with racing and should work into this late.

2 COMMUNICATION * Can race handy but needs to show more late in races.

3 MERCURIAL TURN * Resuming with solid trial under his belt but like to see support before considering.

4 BELIEVER * Back in trip and best form is over longer.

5 BOOM ALMIGHTY * Needs to improve.

6 SPEED RACER ** Drawn wide but improved effort last start when blinkers went on and cheeky run expected.

7 BLACK TAIPAN * 3YO Australian-bred colt who has had a quiet local trial so market only guide.

8 KAKADU ** Ran on well late on debut and should improve with that run under this belt. Value.

9 KHARISMA *** Solid effort to place on debut with best work late. Will be improved and should be in the finish.

10 LADY FAST *** NZ-bred filly who hit the line well at local trial and can consider on debut with gate 1 a bonus.

11 KNIGHT LOVE *** US-bred gelding who has won both trials and can overcome wide gate in this field and win.


Race 3


A 2kg claim for Simon Kok looks a luxury given the form he is in and that might be what CALCULATION needs to a get a result in this Class 4 Poly sprint. That and the fact he drops to Class 4 and gets back on his preferred surface. While the field looks more than solid, he can win. The interesting runner is WONDERFUL KNIGHT resuming and while he hasn’t won since April last year, that was also first up in a similar race to this and he may make every post a winner on the back of a very nice trial. BRIGHT ALMIGHTY won two back on the Poly – his only start on the surface – and his form suggests he can win with gate 1 a bonus, while BASILISK was poor last start but can win on form prior. Two to watch down in the weights include the maiden ST ALWYN and BOOM SHAKALAKA who are both having their first race start on the Poly and could surprise. Betting Strategy – WONDERFUL KNIGHT win.

1 CALCULATION *** Ignore last run on turf as placed two back in Class 3 Company on the Poly and can win in Class 4.

2 BRIGHT ALMIGHTY *** In form and only win in Singapore was at only start on the Poly so must go close.

3 WONDERFUL KNIGHT *** Resuming and last win was first up in similar affair. Will give a sight.

4 DUSSELDORF ** Always some show and will appreciate 1200m with best work expected late.

5 BEER GARDEN ** Improved effort after a change of stables last start but has moved back so market only guide.

6 BASILISK *** Nothing last start but should appreciate 1200m and can figure on best form.

7 BEJEWELLED ** Drawn wide and headgear removed but in solid form and can figure at value.

8 ST ALWYN *** Maiden who is honest, due and could show up at first race start on the Poly.

9 GOLDEN DASH ** Competitive and a must for exotics but may need Class 5 to win.

10 BOOM SHAKALAKA *** Gate a concern but has speed and always trials like he will appreciate the Poly at the races. Keep safe.

11 HOSAYLIAO * Reassess in Class 5.


Race 4


It’s not often we get a real race in two but on paper this looks a dead-set match race between QIJI DIAMOND and ZYGARDE and it may be a case of forget the rest. Who wins? QIJI DIAMOND is first up after four straight placings at his first preparation and looks the benchmark. The 3YO was beaten a lip over 1400m last November and from gate 1 with Vlad Duric retaining the ride, he gets his chance. ZYGRADE has only had the one run under his belt but given he had traffic excuses not to win on that occasion, he will make his presence felt in this finish. Nothing else really appeals although a newcomer in BRILLIANT PAGE has shown enough at the trials to be competitive, while ROCKET PEGASUS and SHEPHERD’S HYMN could be improvers. Betting Strategy – QIJI DIAMOND, ZYGRADE strong forecast.

1 QIJI DIAMOND *** Resuming after just missing over 1400m last start and was overdue prior. Hard to beat.

2 LOVING BABE * Gets upgrade to blinkers but needs to show more.

3 FOUNTAIN OF FAME * Has only battled since placing four starts back and easier to ignore with blinkers off.

4 MAJESTY WARRIOR * Freshened back in trip but no.

5 AVOCADO * NZ-bred gelding who hasn’t shown up at trials.

6 BRILLIANT PAGE ** Australian-bred 3YO who has been solid at the trials and should figure somewhere on debut in this field.

7 ROCKET PEGASUS ** Form looks hopeless but battled on OK at start two and could figure in exotics from gate 1.

8 SHEPHERD’S HYMN ** Only battled on debut but always trials like he has more to offer so keep safe.

9 ZYGARDE *** Had excuses for not winning on debut back in December and hard to hold out in this field.

10 ARTEMISIA OF CARIA * Gets blinkers added after poor debut but not for me.



Race 5


A bottom of the barrel Class 5 Poly sprint and the connections of MAJULAH could be laughing all the way to the bank after 6YO won a similar weak one last start. In fact he has won two of his last five which is significant for the bank account given his only other win was back in 2017 and is not the type to run a place out of turn. Gate 2 helps and he is the obvious pick in a bad bunch. The only horse that could test him on recent form is WITHOUT PREJUDICE who looks due and may not get a better chance than this with R Maia from gate 5, while the veteran SOLITAIRE may improve second up in what is a suitable race. One to watch at odds is DARK KNIGHT resuming after a terrible run of form. The 4YO gets blinkers added though and some recent trials suggests he could surprise at value. Betting Strategy – DARK KNIGHT small win.

1 MAJULAH *** Won a weak one last start and finds himself in a similar affair. Goes close.

2 SOLITAIRE ** Appreciates first up run and last win was second up in similar weak race so keep safe.

3 DEE MAK MAK * Returned a roarer last start and exotics looks best.

4 KUBERA’S CHIEF * Impossible on recent form but this field is weak so could improve.

5 MA BAO BAO * Just battling.

6 DARK KNIGHT *** Resuming after a terrible run of form but gets blinkers and recent trials suggests he has something to offer.

7 WITHOUT PREJUDICE *** Found form in similar affairs and gets his chance here.

8 RICHIE RICH * Blinkers and tongue-tie removed but hard to have.

9 EXCELLENT MOON * Battling of late.

10 KING OF GLORY ** Form read terribly but recent trial was solid and can improve sans headgear.



Race 6


A terrific Class 4 1600m on the turf given there are plenty of horses ready to win and a few improvers that could throw punters a curve ball on the night. Of those that are in form and ready to win, it was hard to fault SUN KING’s Singapore debut and his UK form will more than stack up over the 1600m in this company and he looks hard to hold out. AXEL Is on the quick back-up after being in the mix over 1400m last start and he is due with Duric taking the ride, while WIND OF LIBERTY and MAGNIFICENT GOLD both placed last start and both should figure in what is a suitable affair. LEATHERHEAD also looks ready to win again and his recent trial has him under notice from gate 1. Those that could spoil the party at odds include MURRAYFIELD, IRON RULER, BLITZ POWER and MR EXCHEQUER, so go wide in exotics. Betting Strategy – SUN KING win.

1 AXEL *** Backing up after being in the mix last Friday over 1400m. Is due.

2 SUN KING *** Ran on well behind a nice type at his Singapore debut and hard to hold out of that effort with the distance ideal.

3 WIND OF LIBERTY *** Handy enough type who looks due to break his Singapore duck and the step up to 1600m no problem.

4 MAGNIFICENT GOLD *** Placed when resuming, always a chance over the distance and will make his presence felt late.

5 BARBEQUE * Lost form.

6 MURRAYFIELD ** Form reads badly but never involved from wide gate last start so could improve from the better alley.

7 MR EXCHEQUER ** Improved effort to place last start but wide gate makes this tougher.

8 YULONG XIONG HU * Struggled from wide gate last start and will need a more positive ride.

9 IRON RULER ** Gate a big concern but recent trial sans winkers was good and could surprise.

10 LEATHERHEAD *** Always looks a chance in race like this an recent trial good enough to think he has a say from gate 1.

11 BLITZ POWER ** Runs on when in the mood and race run to suit so keep safe.

12 SUN GENERAL * Goes OK on his day but Class 5 beckons.


Race 7


A very tricky Class 5 Poly 1600m and with the likely favourite in CODIGOS drawn wide, it may pay to look elsewhere for the winner. VESONTIO looks out of form but may be the bolter from gate 2 stepping up to a more suitable trip after two runs for the O’Hara Stable; a recent trial was good and a bold run is expected. But CODIGOS is the benchmark and the experience of Michael Rodd should overcome the wide gate and he will figure in the finish late. SPORTSCASTER has also drawn awkwardly and was disappointing in this grade last start but should be better than that and can figure. Nothing else appeals but HUNTSMEN is competitive, while APOLLO ROCK and LIM’S RHYTHM can improve. Betting Strategy – VESONTIO win.

1 CODIGOS *** Gave the winner too big a break last start but is due and can win if closer in running.

2 SPORTSCASTER *** Disappointing in similar affair last start but can go forward and give a sight.

3 APOLLO ROCK ** Maiden who battles away at best but could improve in Class 5 over this trip. Watch market.

4 HUNTSMAN ** Maiden who is competitive but wide gate makes this tough with blinkers to visor.

5 HELUSHKA * Has only battled sine win over 1200m four back and easier to ignore.

6 LIM’S RHYTHM ** Has only battled since resuming and drawn wide but should improve stepping up to a more suitable trip with Duric aboard.

7 VESONTIO *** Another whose recent form reads only fair but stepping up to the right trip on the back of a good trial suggests he has a say.

8 OFFICIAL * Lost form and may be looking for the turf.

9 PACIFIC OCEAN * Battler.

10 CAI POH WANG * Battled on OK last start but easier to leave out.

11 SUGARTIME JAZZ * Veteran who has seen much better days.

12 KING WARRIOR * Improved effort last start but still needs to show more.

13 SUCCESS STREET * Has battled since maiden win over this trip and track three back.

14 CROWN DELIGHT * Placed last start but unreliable and drawn wide.


Race 8


An interesting Class 3 with two of the main chances resuming from breaks with similar records. HUGO is useful 4YO having won three of his past five outings at this trip and was only run down late last start in this grade; he is awkwardly drawn but has been freshened and he could be the one to run down with John Powell up. BURKAAN is the same age and boasts a similar record having won twice in Class 4 over this distance at his past four outings and was only run down late in Class 3 last start; he too is poorly drawn but has the speed to overcome the gate. Another 4YO with fitness on his side is COMING THROUGH who has won three of six starts and fought on to place in this class last start over 1100m; he is well placed with 54kg and just needs to run a strong 1200m. They look the top chances but TARO SAN can improve on a recent disappointing effort, BEAU GESTE returned to form last start, while BAFFERT, NATIONALITY and the emergency ARARAT LADY can be included in exotics. Betting Strategy – HUGO win.

1 SUPER FORTUNE ** Battled at recent outings but last win this class and distance four starts back. Well drawn and can run on.

2 BEAU GESTE *** Got the job done on poly in Class 4 last start. This is harder but gets senior rider and can go on with it.

3 BURKAAN *** Resuming. Has won twice in Class 4 over this distance in past four outings and only run down late in Class 3 last start. Poorly drawn but has speed to overcome gate. Watch market.

4 REVOLUTION * Recent outings poor but drops back in trip and capable of improvement.

5 SPECIAL KING * Struggled at recent outings and hasn’t won for a long time.

6 TARO SAN ** Struggled last start but previous form this company was strong. Can improve for Michael Rodd.

7 DINGHU MOUNTAIN ** Disappointed on turf last outing but better suited here. Not the most reliable but can improve.

8 HUGO *** Has won three of past five outings this trip and only run down late last start in this grade. Will give a sight fresh.

9 DUTROW * Recent efforts moderate.

10 BAFFERT ** Placed at two of past three outings in this grade. Finding it hard to break through but usually thereabouts and Duric rides.

11 COMING THROUGH *** Has won three of six starts and fought on to place in this class last start over 1100m. Well placed with 54kg and just has to run 1200m.

12 NATIONALITY ** Resuming. Has only won once since coming to Singapore but regularly places. Has no weight and should be handy. Watch for support.

13 ARARAT LADY ** Has been freshened and won class 4 over this trip four starts back. Awkwardly drawn but has speed and should be prominent.

14 SACRED DON * Will find this easier than last start but has battled since getting into Class 3.


Race 9


A competitive Class 4 where the resuming MIG PIERRO may be hardest to beat. The lightly raced Pierro gelding has won two of nine starts and has been freshened with a nice trial; he won one of these two starts back before leading and fading at his last start and with Marc Lerner to ride from a good gate, he should be prominent for a long way. The danger will be LIMITED EDITION who led before being run down last start in a similar race to this; he carries the same weight and with Vlad Duric staying aboard will give a sight again. The other major chance is LEADING CELLIST who won one of these last start when blinkers where added, while MY BIG BOSS has form in this class but 1200m may test and CHALAZA back on the poly can make his presence felt. Keep LIZAZ resuming safe on the back of a nice trial. Betting Strategy – MIG PIERRO win, saver on LIZAZ.

1 LIMITED EDITION *** Led before being run down last start. Carries same weight and will give a sight again.

2 CHALAZA *** Only battled on turf last start. Better suited back on the Poly and will give a sight.

3 MIG PIERRO *** Won one of these at second Singapore outing. Trialled well and should be prominent fresh.

4 LEADING CELLIST *** Won one of these last start when blinkers added and rises 2.5kg. Will be near the speed with Maia to ride.

5 SUN MONARCH * Struggled last start on turf. Not far away at first Singapore outing when caught wide in similar race to this. Better drawn and could show up.

6 MY BIG BOSS ** Won over 1100m two starts back and ran on to be in finish last start. 1200m can test.

7 WALKING THUNDER * Hasn’t won for nearly three years. Tested.

8 DREAM COMES TRUE ** Fought on in this grade last start. Hasn’t won for over two years but well drawn and with 3kg claim should be handy.

9 LIZAZ *** Resuming with nice trial under his belt. Placed this class and distance three starts back but last win was long ago. Watch market.

10 RESOLUTION * Won Class 5 three starts back but has battled since.

11 WINNING LEGEND ** Caught wide last start and run down late start prior. Can give a sight.

12 XIONG FONG * Needs to improve on efforts since resuming.

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