Big guns step up

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Big guns step up

COUNTOFMONTECRISTO

Larry Foley, Singapore – While the undercard has plenty to offer and the Novice event (Race 6) looks a beauty, the first Group 2 Weight-for Age race of the Kranji season – the Chairman’s Trophy – commands the majority of the attention on Saturday, 15 February 2020.

Obviously MR CLINT, first-up after winning the Singapore Gold Cup in November, headlines the star-studded field and given he just missed in the Raffles Cup over 1600m, he looks suited first up to win another big race and stamp his WFA form.

KING LOUIS is also resuming after a frustrating Gold Cup campaign and while the 5YO doesn’t win out of turn, he is overdue and a recent smart trial suggests he is cherry ripe to show something first up over the mile.

The winning hopes don’t stop there and COUNTOFMONTECRISTO and the mare WHAT’S NEW both have race fitness on their side and are proven at WFA conditions with the mile ideal.

Elsewhere on the card, HEALTHY STAR will go very close in the fore-mentioned Novice race over 1100m on the Poly, while MAKKEM LAD looks well-placed in Class 4 Company (Race 2) to win first up on ability alone.

 

Best Bets:

MAKKEM LAD, Race 2, win

MACH Race 8, win

WHAT’S NEW, Race 9, value

 

Jackpot:

Race 7: 1, 3, 7

Race 8: 1, 6

Race 9: 1, 3, 4, 6, 9

Race 10: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7.

 

Race-by-race preview

Race 1

Selections: 1 ADMIRAL WINSTON – 2 JK FORMIDABLE – 10 GANGNAM CLASSIC – 8 ASSASSIN

Not an overly strong Class 5 to open the meeting and while obviously disappointing last start when missing a place as the odds-on elect, ADMIRAL WINSTON did have excuses and should win this. On that occasion when dropping to Class 5 for the first time, the 3YO ran into all sorts of traffic issues with an apprentice riding. Now, with blinkers added and Vlad Duric aboard, he is hard to beat. Another 3YO in ASSASSIN also gets his chance. Trained by Jason Ong, he led for a long way when resuming over 1000m in this class only to fade late; Zyrul stays on and with added fitness he should be hard to pass. The resuming JK FORMIDABLE led before being run down late last start and should be prominent again, while the honest GANGNAM CLASSIC might only have one win from 40 starts to his name but should figure. ELENA OF AVALOR and ANOTHER SHOW for skinny end of exotics. Betting Strategy – ADMIRAL WINSTON strong win.

1 ADMIRAL WINSTON *** Heavily supported but ran into all sorts trouble so can forget last start. Gets blinkers and with Vlad Duric can win.

2 JK FORMIDABLE *** Led before being run down late last start when resuming. Awkwardly drawn but should be prominent on the back of a good trial.

3 SPIRIT SEVEN * Resuming after long break and change of stables. Distanced at recent outings and should need longer.

4 ANOTHER SHOW ** Resuming after change of stables and sans tongue-tie. Maiden who has three turf placings in 12 starts. Recent trial was solid. Watch market.

5 LEGENDARY ERA * Resuming after long break. Yet to place in nine starts.

6 ELENA OF AVALOR ** Struggled at past two outings but ran three consecutive placings prior. May want longer but could run on.

7 WINNER NUMBER ONE * Struggled at past three outings but placed this trip four back and could show up with John Powell to ride.

8 ASSASSIN *** Led and was run down over this trip when resuming. Well drawn and should be prominent for a long way.

9 MY WIN * Battled into fourth three starts back but other efforts poor. Only win at this trip but needs to improve.

10 GANGNAM CLASSIC *** One win in 40 starts but honest, has some speed and should figure.

11 SHE’S THE ONE * Has struggled at recent starts. Best efforts over longer.

 

Race 2

Selections: 1 MAKKEM LAD – 3 BRIGHT SUN – 4 THOMAS DE LAGO – 5 MADE IN CHINA

A moderate Class 4 over 1000m and the class runner is the resuming MAKKEM LAD. Trained by Donna Logan, the Kuroshio 4YO is first up after a long break but was narrowly beaten in the Group 2 Singapore 3YO Classic, has won a Class 4 on the poly and placed in Class 3 last preparation; he has abundant speed and with Vlad Duric to ride may be too classy. Looking for dangers, BRIGHT SUN’s three Singapore efforts have been moderate but he did win over this trip before arrival and from a good gate with a 3kg claim should be near the speed for a long way, while THOMAS DE LAGO has placed at his past three outings over this trip and while he doesn’t win often, will be running on. MADE IN CHINA is backing up quickly after a solid effort last start and can be considered, while HOTSHOTS SLAM has speed and could be nuisance value. Betting Strategy – MAKKEM LAD strong win.

1 MAKKEM LAD *** Resuming after an interesting 3YO Group campaign that included a close-up second in the Classic. Enjoys the poly and hard to hold out.

2 LORD O’REILLY ** Winkers off and gets Michael Rodd and can approve from a better gate today.

3 BRIGHT SUN *** Led before fading on turf last start over 1200m. Has speed and only win was this trip. Can give a sight.

4 THOMAS DE LAGO *** Finds it hard to win but placed past three outings over this trip. Will be running on.

5 MADE IN CHINA *** Backing up quickly. Fought on last start in similar race and from good gate should be handy.

6 TIME TO ROCK * Gets blinker pacifiers but struggling since resuming and needs to improve.

7 ELITE BEAST * Broke through in Class 5 last start over 1200m. Will find this harder but will run on.

8 HOTSHOTS SLAM ** Showed promise as a 2YO winning once and placing in Golden Horseshoe. Led before fading on turf last start. Just missed over this trip three starts back and has the speed to be prominent.

9 JUMPIN JACK * Won Class 5 three starts back but has struggled since.

10 MAN OF WORDS * Resuming after long break sans blinkers. Only win was in Class 5. Prefer to see.

11 HIGH LIMIT * Appreciates the Poly but needs Class 5.

 

Race 3

Selections: 2 CHARMING DIAMOND – 1 ATLANTEAN – 3 HEART OF COURAGE – 5 SUN ELIZABETH

The odd man out in this field of Class 5 battlers is the 3YO CHARMING DIAMOND. Trained by Shane Baertschiger, he was a useful 2YO winning at his second start on the poly before failing at his only turf run to date in the Group 2 Golden Horseshoe; he disappointed when resuming with heavy support in a Class 4 but has much better credentials than others in this field. ATLANTEAN also drops in grade and while his recent form looks patchy, he handles the turf and should grow a leg in Class 5. The Japanese mare SUN ELIZABETH won one of these easily last start; she rises 0.5kg and with the same rider can be in the finish again. HEART OF COURAGE is a bookie’s pal with one win in 23 starts but has placed at his past three starts and from a good gate with Vlad Duric will be thereabouts again. Others of interest in the field are Cliff Brown’s pair FIREWORKS and NATE’S HONOUR, while TRIGAMY can also be included in exotics. Betting Strategy – CHARMING DIAMOND win, saver on ATLANTEAN.

1 ATLANTEAN *** Drops back to winning grade, won his maiden on the turf and right in this.

2 CHARMING DIAMOND *** Only previous turf outing was in the Golden Horseshoe. Only battled when resuming in Class 4 with strong support but should win in Class 5.

3 HEART OF COURAGE *** Finds it hard to win but has placed at all three outings on poly since dropping into Class 5. Switch to turf, Vlad Duric and 1200m may help.

4 SMOOTH OPERATOR * Distanced when resuming. Appreciates Class 5 but needs to improve.

5 SUN ELIZABETH *** Won one of these easily last start. Rises 0.5kg and with same rider can be in the finish again.

6 TRIGAMY ** Has changed stables and blinkers come off. Placed at past two poly outings and has won at this trip. Should be prominent.

7 FIREWORKS ** Resuming after just missing over 1400m last start. Trialled soundly and has speed to overcome gate. Watch for support.

8 NATE’S HONOUR ** Resuming. Maiden who placed at his past two outings over 1400m in this grade. Could show up fresh with Michael Rodd to ride.

9 GOLDEN WIN * Struggled at recent outings. Tongue-tie off but needs to improve.

10 SILVER JOY * Placed in this class when resuming after freshen-up. Could go on with it but should need longer.

11 MOON CHARM * Has only battled at recent outings but may improve on turf with tongue-tie off.

12 RIVER HAPPINESS * Placed over 1600m two starts back but still a Maiden and tested here.

13 BOHEMIAN * Having 50th start as a Maiden.

 

Race 4

Selections: 1 OCEAN CROSSING – 3 AFALONHRO – 5 QUANTUM – 4 RESTRAINED

Another Class 4 of average quality where the standout is the resuming OCEAN CROSSING. The 4YO showed promise last preparation winning three of six starts including a Class 4 over this trip; he resumes on the back of a solid trial and with Patrick Moloney to ride from a good gate is the one to beat. In a field where many pose more questions than answers, QUANTUM has some consistency, has been improved by recent outings with excuses not to finish closer, the class and distance suit and with a 2kg claim for Simon Kok, he will be running on. AFALONHRO typifies a few in the field by having one win and nine placings from 13 starts; he was dominant in a Maiden two starts back and had some excuses in a Novice last start but his win strike rate is a concern. RESTRAINED is another who has shown glimpses in four starts since arriving in Singapore and he should be ready to fire. Of the rest, QUADCOPTER has struggled at his past two outings following a good win in this class and distance, while ROMANTIC, MY BOSS and THE WILD BUNCH all can figure in exotics. Betting Strategy – OCEAN CROSSING win, saver on QUANTUM.

1 OCEAN CROSSING *** Resuming after good win over 1600m in this grade. Was consistent last preparation and has won this class and distance. Trialled well and should be near the speed throughout.

2 QUADCOPTER ** Has struggled at past two outings following good win this class and distance. Well drawn and should be prominent. Keep safe.

3 AFALONHRO *** Got too far back last start in Novice following dominant Maiden win. Gets visor and step up in trip may suit. Will run on but one win and nine placings in 13 starts is a concern.

4 RESTRAINED *** Ran on without threatening last start. Now having fifth run in Singapore and should be ready to fire. Won over this trip before arrival.

5 QUANTUM *** Excuses not to finish in the mix at both outings since resuming. Goes close with luck from wide gate.

6 ROBIN HOOD * Struggling on poly at recent starts. Has won three times at this trip and could show up on best form.

7 ROMANTIC ** Hard to follow but has two recent turf placings and steps up in trip. Could surprise.

8 MY BOSS * Far too good in Class 5 last start over 1100m on poly. This is harder but won Maiden over this trip and could show up.

9 THE WILD BUNCH ** Won Maiden on debut and wasn’t far away in Novice last start. Up in trip but should be prominent with value the key.

10 BROADWAY SUCCESS * Won back to back Class 5’s but did not show up when resuming. Needs easier.

11 CLARTON TREASURE ** Placed on poly when resuming. Hasn’t won for a long time but will be running on.

12 ROMAN CLASSIC * Has struggled at recent starts. Needs Class 5 and perhaps Poly over longer.

13 ACCELERANDO * Gets winkers but needs to improve.

 

Race 5

Selections: 1 FAME STAR – 3 GINGERELLA – 4 SAFEER – 5 YOU ROKK

A Kranji Stakes A over 1200m sees the return of FAME STAR after his EW Barker win over 1400m. The American-bred 5YO is going for six straight wins and his trial was strong enough to suggest he will get it done. He will be short odds though so it may pay to look for value or something to run second at odds. SAFEER is resuming after a bold race in the Raffles Cup followed by a battling effort in the EW Barker; he has won three times at this trip and can show up fresh. YOU ROKK was slowly away before good work late last start has him under notice, while GINGERELLA had excuses last start (lame) and the drop back to 1200m should see a very prominent run. AUGUSTANO and MURAAHIB are all capable of running good races. Betting Strategy – FAME STAR win, saver on GINGERELLA.

1 FAME STAR *** Resuming after EW Barker win. Trialled well. Going for six straight and the one to beat again.

2 AUGUSTANO * Freshened, recent trial was good, has won seven times at this trip and will run on.

3 GINGERELLA *** Returned lame after Fortune Bowl. Has speed and should be prominent with drop back to 1200m in her favour.

4 SAFEER *** Resuming after battling effort in EW Barker. Ran bold race in Raffles Cup and has won three times at this trip. Can show up fresh.

5 YOU ROKK *** Ran on late last start and blinkers come off. Keep safe at value.

6 EYE GUY * Struggled when resuming. Extra distance suits but class may test.

7 RIVER RADIANCE ** Caught wide but battled on OK in the New Year Cup. Take on trust on turf sans tongue-tie.

8 AUTUMN RUSH * Tested in this class.

9 MURAAHIB ** Racing soundly. Class tests but visor may help as will gate 1 and no weight.

 

Race 6

Selections: 4 HEALTHY STAR – 1 WINNING HOBBY – 10 BRUTUS – 6 DIAMOND RING

A terrific Novice race with plenty of winning chances that look destined to go through the grades in Singapore. HEALTHY STAR took three runs to break his maiden status but has always looked a very good horse in the making on trial form and he can be followed over 1100m with race fitness and experience on his side. The 3Y0 is also in very well at the Novice conditions, as is another 3YO in BRUTUS who gets an extra weight relief given he is a maiden (and gets a claim) but has shown enough to think he can win a race like this and he may be value. WINNING HOBBY is giving weight to both 3YO’s but he showed first-up that he has returned in form and will figure prominently from gate 4 with Duric up. DIAMOND RING will very much appreciate being back on the Poly and gets a handy Simon Kok 2kg claim and go wider again in exotics including GOLD PRIZE first-up after a long break. Betting Strategy – HEALTHY STAR win.

1 WINNING HOBBY *** Just missed when resuming, in OK at the Novice conditions and will give a sight.

2 PERFECT * Drawn wide and better on the turf.

3 LORD OF LIGHT ** Wide gate a concern but recent trial solid and always some show with tongue-tie removed for this.

4 HEALTHY STAR *** Broke through for overdue maiden win last start and won well enough to follow.

5 MOONGATE STAR ** Solid without being a threat to place last start and expect much the same.

6 DIAMOND RING *** Honest, will appreciate being back on the Poly and back in trip so can consider with forward run expected.

7 QIJI ACHEEVA ** Will find this easier than the Saas Fee where he did the work and can figure with luck from wide gate.

8 GOLD PRIZE ** Resuming after placing on debut back in August 2018 when the jockey got three months. Trials good enough to keep safe at odds.

9 HIGH VOLTAGE * Australian-bred 4YO making race debut on the back on solid trial. This looks too tough.

10 BRUTUS *** Maiden who gets in best at the weights and has shown enough to finish in the winning mix.

11 TESORO PUBLICO * First up after a terrible debut and gets tongue-tie. No.

12 YOU QIAN ZHUAN ** Gate a concern but solid last start on the turf and won on debut on the Poly. Can include in exotics at odds.

 

Race 7

Selections: 1 TOUCH THE CLOUDS – 3 MR DUJARDIN – 7 MIDDLE KINGDOM – 4 LARRY

A rare race over 2200m and some trainers would be licking their lips at the prospect of testing their stayers over the longest journey in Singapore. MR DUJARDIN probably starts favourite but the 5YO may have forgotten how to win, which is obviously a concern for followers. In saying that, he was OK late last start and 2200m looks ideal with Duric to ride. However, two horses that are yet to win in Singapore in TOUCH THE CLOUDS and MIDDLE KINGDOM get their chance. TOUCH THE CLOUDS looked to have some in hand last start, has some upside in this Class and from gate 1 with Rodd up, he could be hard to hold out. MIDDLE KINGDOM was a tad flat last start (rider suggested slow tempo against him) but looks due and will figure late. A blanket over the rest including a few that have Class 5 winning form – PAKATAN WARRIOR to name one – while LARRY can disappoint but the trip suits and he could run on very strongly. Betting Strategy – TOUCH THE CLOUDS win, saver on LARRY.

1 TOUCH THE CLOUDS *** Looked to have found his feet in Singapore with good work late over 1800m last start and can win this.

2 MIGHTY EMPEROR * In solid form but a better option on the Poly.

3 MR DUJARDIN *** May have forgotten how to win but OK late last start, trip suits and will have a say late.

4 LARRY ** Starts can be costly but distance suits and will make his presence felt if his mind is on the job.

5 BILLY BRITAIN ** A better winning option on the Poly but always competitive this trip and pay to keep safe.

6 PAKATAN WARRIOR ** Recent winning form is on the Poly in Class 5 but pay to follow as handles the turf and trip no worries.

7 MIDDLE KINGDOM *** Yet to win in Singapore and a tad flat last start but was due prior and should figure over this trip.

8 PISCA PISCA ** Recent wins in Class 5 but has been competitive in this grade and trainer knows a bit about 2200m.

9 SHANGANI ** Another that may need Class 5 to win but honest and can figure.

 

Race 8

Selections: 6 MACH – 1 MAN OF MYSTERY – 3 SUPER POSH – 2 LONGHU

This Class 4 Poly dash lacks depth and MACH get this chance to win again while in form. The 6YO won three back and had excuses not to be in the winning mix last start and gets his chance from gate 2 in this field. MAN OF MYSTERY is also due but has drawn awkwardly in gate 9 and K Hakim will need to ride positively to have every chance. SUPER POSH did it tough last start and did well to place so he should figure with a softer run expected in this field from gate 7. The field falls away after this trio but LONGHU will appreciate gate 3 with J Powell a factor, while MY HORSE and SUPERSONIC SURPRISE can be included in exotics. Betting Strategy – MACH strong win.

1 MAN OF MYSTERY *** Just missed last start, is overdue and gets his chance with a handy 4kg claim.

2 LONGHU ** Disappointing last start but gate 3 helps and always an eachway show in races like this.

3 SUPER POSH *** Did it tough last start on the pace and effort to place was good enough to follow.

4 BIONICS * Gets blinkers and tongue-tie after two poor runs in Singapore so market only guide.

5 SUPER PINS * Maiden from Australia who hasn’t shown up at local trials.

6 MACH *** Traffic excuses not to finish closer last start over 1000m and does look due so can win this.

7 MY HORSE ** Took a drop to Class 5 to win but usually competitive this Company so can include in exotics.

8 SUPERSONICSURPRISE ** Another recent Class 5 winner who is honest in this grade.

9 WHISTLE GRAND * In solid form but prefer over longer.

10 WELL DESERVED * Has struggled since Class 5 win.

11 LIM’S SHOT * Reassess in Class 5.

 

Race 9

Selections: 1 COUNTOFMONTECRISTO – 9 WHAT’S NEW – 4 KING LOUIS – 3 MR CLINT

As you would expect in a WFA Group 2 mile, the big guns are all there including last year’s stayer of the year in MR CLINT and the Champion 4YO, WHAT’S NEW. MR CLINT is first up after winning the Gold Cup and given he has won over the mile fresh previously at a good level, he should figure in this finish. Also resuming from the Gold Cup is KING LOUIS who rarely runs a bad race and a recent trial suggests he can knock in a well-deserved win, while SUN MARSHALL is also first up after a Gold Cup campaign and a forward run is expected. As mentioned, WHAT’S NEW picked up the 4YO gong at the recent awards night and while her form looks average at best of late, she has had excuses and can win with her handy mares claim a bonus. But the horse that could beat them all with fitness on his side is COUNTOFMONTECRISTO who appreciates WFA conditions and looks the benchmark. Betting Strategy – WHAT’S NEW eachway at value.

1 COUNTOFMONTECRISTO *** Lost no friends with a placing in the Fortune Bowl and can win at WFA conditions.

2 WAR AFFAIR * Nowhere near his best.

3 MR CLINT *** Resuming after winning the Gold Cup and has form fresh over the mile so can win first-up.

4 KING LOUIS *** Resuming after battling away in the Gold Cup after a very good campaign – albeit without a win. Recent trial was eye-catching and will make his presence felt late.

5 SUN MARSHAL ** Resuming after disappointing run in the Gold Cup. Has won over the mile and can go forward so keep safe.

6 GOLD STRIKE *** Solid without being a threat in the Fortune Bowl but the mile will suit and should be running on well.

7 BAHANA * Resuming and goes best in November.

8 LOYALTY MAN ** Tested in WFA Company but has been running on well with Top Knight of late and should be competitive.

9 WHAT’S NEW *** Form reads badly but has had excuses of late, the mile is ideal and will be running on at odds.

 

Race 10

Selections: 4 SACRED JUDGEMENT – 2 IRVING LIPSCHITZ – 1 DIAMOND BEAUTY – 3 MADE IN RUSSIA

A top heavy Class 4 turf event over 1400m and nothing separates the four highest rated horses in the race. From the top, DIAMOND BEAUTY had plenty of excuses last start and wasn’t extended to the wire so he can win with gate 1 a factor. IRVING LIPSCHITZ is resuming after a very good run of form and given he has won first up over this trip and comes off a good trial, he will be hard to hold out with a handy 4kg claim from gate 3. MADE IN RUSSIA hasn’t fared as well at the gates but showed more than enough last start in a similar affair to win this without surprising. But the one that may be hardest to beat is SACRED JUDGEMENT who arrived with a good record from New Zealand, placed at his Singapore debut and can improve and win from gate 4 with Duric up. A few others appeal on best form but last start maiden winner IRONCLAD is worth mentioning as he does look to have some upside. Betting Strategy – SACRED JUDGEMENT win.

1 DIAMOND BEAUTY *** First up after all sorts of traffic issues when no tested similar race last start. Won start prior and can win this.

2 IRVING LIPSCHITZ *** Resuming after a good run of form and has won previously first up this trip and grade. Goes close with handy claim on the back of a good trial.

3 MADE IN RUSSIA *** Drawn wide but showed last start why this trip and track is his caper. Will figure.

4 SACRED JUDGEMENT *** Handy ex-Kiwi who ran on well to place and Singapore debut and should improve for the run. Hard to beat.

5 ELITE SILVERGHOST * Form hopeless but some recent trials with slight gear change suggests he could improve at odds.

6 CATCH THE TIGER * Won maiden this trip but some recent form ordinary so take on trust.

7 IRONCLAD ** Handy enough type who won in weak maiden company this trip last start. This is tougher so exotics best.

8 BACCARAT ** Resuming in suitable race with blinkers added but market best guide in this strong field.

9 STEEL CUTTER * Resuming after long break with tongue-tie added but prefer to watch.

10 BILLY MOJO * Lost his Mojo.

11 MIKCAIPHO * Reassess in Class 5.

12 SUN FORMATION ** Love to see in Class 5 but ran on well last start and pay to respect.

13 TINGLE MARC ** Appreciates very good first up run and will work home well with no weight.

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