Tannhauser shapes up well at Thursday trials

Boom three-year-old Tannhauser was one of the many stars at the barrier trials on Thursday morning, and he certainly did not disappoint.

Jockey Vlad Duric was aboard the Jubilant Racing Stable-owned Tavistock three-year-old as usual, and even if there was a slight tweak – involuntary – to his running pattern, the end result had the Australian hoop looking forward to his next start in a Class 3 race over 1200m on Stewards’ Cup day on May 28.

The two-time winner did not roll to the front as he normally does. He settled in third on the fence, was inclined to get on the chewy, but still finished off pleasingly for third, a short head away from Mystic Master (John Sundradas), who himself was nosed out by Nova Swiss (Manoel Nunes) right at the last hop.

“He is a horse who normally jumps and leads, even in his barrier trials, but he jumped a bit awkward from his inside gate this morning,” said Singapore’s current leading jockey.

“He was a little slow out of the gates, compared to Nova Swiss, who ran without blinkers, and the horse on the outside (Mystic Master).

“I didn’t want to squeeze him. I just let him settle in behind. He was a bit keen but that’s because he is a big-striding horse.

“He finished very well. It was good to see him come off a couple of horses. It was quite a soft trial but it was perfect.”

Duric said Tannhauser is the sort who does not bring his best until raceday.

“He won a couple of trials before, but he didn’t show the same brilliance he brings on raceday,” said Duric.

“He’s an exciting horse and Mike’s done a great job to bring him back to his best after his wind op.”

Trainer Michael Clements also gave the thumbs-up after watching the Jubilant Racing Stable-owned galloper he paid NZ$115,000 for at the 2015 National Yearling Sales, and has gone on to win the last two of his three Kranji starts by aggregate margins of 16 lengths.

“It was a great trial. It was good to see him settle in behind even if he was a little keen mid-stage,” said the in-form handler.

“But once he got a clear run-up in the straight, he ran on strongly under a tight hold.

“He will run in a Class 3 race over 1200m next Sunday week.”

A bold idea to run Tannhauser in last Sunday’s Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1600m) was mooted in the wake of his two superlative performances, but Clements in the end opted out, fielding only the then-undefeated Countofmontecristo in the third Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge. He ran third to Forever Young.

The Zimbabwean-born trainer is at peace with his decision to bypass the Singapore Guineas, a race which is worth half a million dollars.

“It would have been too big a roll of the dice to run him in the Guineas. He’s had a wind op and it wouldn’t have been right to run him in such a high-quality race at such short notice,” said Clements.

“There were a lot of good horses in that race and, all in all, I’m happy with the decision not to run him in the Guineas.

“We will have a lot more time to get him ready for next year’s four-year-old races instead.”