Tan bullish about Absolute Miracle returning to form

Trainer Alwin Tan hopes that a drop in grade will give Absolute Miracle a better shot at finding the line again on Sunday.

The son of Strategic Maneuver was once regarded as an above average conveyance after he reeled in three wins in the space of seven weeks at the beginning of last season – all over 1400m and under ex-jockey Danny Beasley.

The tag has, however, slowly tapered off at his next nine starts. Tan even stepped him up in distance and at the highest level for good measure, in the last two Legs of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge, the Group 1 Patron’s Bowl (1600m) and Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (2000m) as well as the Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy (1800m), but the former one-time Wyong winner (over 1100m when prepared by James Cummings) did not quite cut the mustard.

Trainer Alwin Tan is hopeful Absolute Miracle can regain his old spark, picture Singapore Turf Club

In a bid to spark the gelding back up, Tan brought him back to sprints, and even if his last two outings over 1200m and 1400m have not yielded the expected results, there is still a bit of bullishness in Tan’s voice.

“Like I said before, the long distances were not his go. I also think he’s been racing too much and as a result his condition dropped,” said the 2016 Singapore champion trainer who has handed the mantle back to Mark Walker (2015 champion before) last year.

“He was also racing against good horses, and because of that, he may have lost his confidence. That was why he needed a bit of a break just to get him freshened up.

“At his last run (December 1), he missed the start and the jockey (Peter Ho) had to dig him up to make up ground in the early stages. Then he got checked a few times in the straight.

“He still ran on for sixth (to Iron Man). He had excuses, but I don’t think he would have won – maybe, he could have finished closer if he had not had these problems in the race.”

Tan said he had not changed his routine since that run, just bring him along, peaking with a barrier trial on Boxing Day and a searching gallop on Wednesday.

“Olivier (Placais) rode him in a barrier trial and at his gallop today. He was happy with today’s workout,” said Tan.

“Hopefully coming down in class will make it easier for him on Sunday.”

The French jockey, who made a flying start to the 2018 season with a riding double on New Year’s Day (Only Win and Justice Day) rode Absolute Miracle at his three starts (all unplaced) before Ho jumped aboard.

He was obviously not too impressed with his pairings thus far, but did come up with a positive spin from his last workout.

“His gallop on Track 6 was pretty good this morning. We took it easy, but he felt comfortable and I was happy with that,” said Placais.

“It was a much better effort than at his barrier trial last week. He went okay but he was hanging in a bit in the straight.

“I will probably ride him quiet at the rear, and if he is up to it, he should be able to work home nicely. We’ll see.”