Sunday meeting preview, selections, comments and odds.
In most sports, the cream usually rises to the top.
And while the racing game can throw the occasional curveball to keep punters on their toes, at set-weight conditions it is hard to go pass the best horse.
The best horse in question is COUNTOFMONTECRISTO and the $500,000 Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (race 8) looks his for the taking.
Why is he a good thing?
His rating of 112 is a staggering 17 points (that equates to 8.5kg) above the next highest rated horse and given he is one of the few horses with any Group form to his name -including two Group wins from two attempts at this trip - he is impossible to pick against.
Add the visiting gun Western Australian hoop in Willy Pike to the equation and it does look money for jam for the connections of the 2017 Champion Three-Year-Old.
Likewise, DISTINTIVE DARCI is easily the best horse in the Kranji Stakes A Poly sprint field (race 5) and while he has to contend with tougher conditions and carry the top-weight, his Poly form since blinkers added has been exceptional and he should be good enough to win again with Vlad Duric from gate 3 a very good combination.
Best Bets: (DISTINTIVE DARCI race 5, win), (COUNTOFMONTECRISTO race 8, win) and (WALKING THUNDER race 9, value).
Bankers for Jackpots: Race 6 (4, 5 and 6), race 7 (2, 4, 5 and 8), race 8 (1) and race 9 (1, 3, 4, 6 and 10).
Race cards and Larry Foley's synopsis follows and for updates on all runners go to www.kranjiracing.com
Please note the odds listed are "reference odds" only.
Selections; 4 HEARTLIGHT - 6 GAIN ECLIPSE - 11 DRAGON GOLD - 3 PRATT STREET
A very moderate non-premier Class 4 with no real standouts, which gives two interesting runners in HEARTLIGHT and GAIN ECLIPSE a chance to win. HEARTLIGHT is a newcomer who won his only start at Avondale (NZ) and has trialled solidly; with Vlad Duric he could debut well. Not many horses - and certainly not three-year-old fillies - come from Malaysia and make an impact but GAIN ECLIPSE placed at her first Singapore outing, shows promise and can improve and win. Of the others, DRAGON GOLD fought on well at his second run since resuming and should be prominent for a long way while PRATT STREET ran on strongly when resuming and the extra distance suits. Betting Strategy - HEARTLIGHT win.
1 BEN GUNN ** Struggled at recent starts and improvement needed but well drawn and would appreciate a positive ride. 8.00
2 DAZZLING SPEED * Did not show up at Singapore debut but has trialled well since. Not helped by gate. 20
3 PRATT STREET ** Ran on strongly when resuming after being held up and some hope here with luck in running from wide gate. 7.00
4 HEARTLIGHT *** Won at only start at Avondale (NZ) and local trials have been good enough to win at Singapore debut with Duric a factor. 5.00
5 PARAGON STAR * Placed this company on poly three starts but has struggled since. Needs to improve. 25
6 GAIN ECLIPSE *** Placed at first Singapore outing after arrival from Malaysia. Shows promise and can improve. 5.00
7 POMP * Heart issues last start but not suited on turf or at this distance. 25
8 BLACK MAGIC * Resuming and only wins are on poly. Others preferred. 33
9 FLASH ONE * Trialled soundly but recent form poor. Tested here. 33
10 MUSCULAR SPRINTER * Won three starts back on poly but last effort was poor and not helped by gate. 16
11 DRAGON GOLD *** Fought on well at second run since resuming. Improving and with Placais to ride should be prominent for a long way. 3.50
12 CHEETAH KING * Resuming without blinkers. Has won six times on turf but better over longer. 33
13 PRINCE FERDINAND * Won Class 5 four starts back but has struggled since. Needs weaker grade. 33
14 SPUR ME ON * Needs to improve on recent form. 33
Selections; 11 PETITE VOIX - 10 ELENA OF AVALOR - 3 ASIA - 6 SUN FEI
An Open Maiden on the poly over 1100m and a recent arrival and one resuming after a long break look the most likely. PETITE VOIX came to Singapore with solid Australian form and her Singapore debut was sound; she will find this easier and should be hard to run down from the good gate. The danger may be ASIA who debuted well but suffered an injury and has been off the scene since; his most recent trial was solid and he should be prominent with Glen Boss to ride. Of the others, ELENA OF AVALOR disappointed last start on turf in Class 4 but gets William Pike and placed at her previous two on the Poly; she goes close. Nothing else appeals although SUN FEI has to be some hope on trial form although she has been very disappointing with support at two Singapore starts. Betting strategy - PETITE VOIX win.
1 FLASH * Returned lame when resuming so take on trust. 50
2 PLUCKY LAD * Resuming and the odd trial OK but needs to show more. 33
3 ASIA *** Resuming after long break. Debuted well and most recent trial was solid. Should be prominent with Glen Boss to ride. 3.50
4 D'GREAT BOSS ** Showed speed at debut and gets winkers so could give a sight. 20
5 SATELLITE KINGDOM * Resuming with winkers. Most recent effort on turf showed improvement but did not show up at trial. Watch market. 20
6 SUN FEI ** Super disappointing given strong support at two starts in Singapore but has to be some show on trial form. 14
7 LARSON * Gets blinkers and gate 1 but needs to improve on efforts to date. 33
8 GOLDEN STATES * Placed in Class 5 two starts back but disappointed last outing and tongue-tie goes back on. Has speed and could improve. 14
9 GRIDIRON ** Showed some speed before weakening last start. Could improve with blinker pacifiers, Vlad Duric, a good gate and poly. 8.00
10 ELENA OF AVALOR *** Drawn wide and disappointed last start on turf but placed at two previous poly starts and appreciates being back in Maiden Company. 5.00
11 PETITE VOIX *** Made a strong Singapore debut and previous Australian form was good enough for this. Gets winkers and from good gate hard to run down. 3.00
12 ARMY OF ONE * Has been racing without success on sand and dirt at Meydan and Jebel Ali. Did not show up at trial. Watch market. 33
Selections; 2 MR HANKS - 1 EASTIGER - 3 ALAMOSA EXPRESS - 7 EL CHAPO
A competitive Class 4 with no standouts but MR HANKS looks the big improver down in Class. A Group winner as a Juvenile, MR HANKS' recent form is poor but he has been running in much better company and he can improve with Vlad Duric to ride from a good gate. Interesting, Duric jumped off a couple of the other leading hopes including ALAMOSA EXPRESS who fought hard when resuming on the poly and is better suited on the turf while EASTIGER was checked late last start over 1400m, this distance suits and he should go forward and run a big race. Of the rest, EL CHAPO disappointed last start when slowly away following his Maiden win but could improve for William Pike while ELISE, LADRONE, FEROCIOUS and XIONG FONG are all candidates for the exotics. Betting Strategy - MR HANKS each-way.
1 EASTIGER *** Consistent and checked late last start over 1400m. Suited this class and distance but likes to go forward and needs to overcome gate. 6.00
2 MR HANKS *** Will find this Class a lot easier than recent outings. Can improve with Duric to ride. 4.00
3 ALAMOSA EXPRESS *** Fought hard when resuming on poly. Better on turf and should get a good run throughout. 5.00
4 FIRST LIGHT * Resuming after struggling at most recent outings. Trialled fairly in slow time and could improve with tongue-tie back on. Watch market. 16
5 MIKCAIPHO * Has changed stables. Disappointed last start but recent trial was sound. Watch market. 20
6 BASILISK * Not far away on Poly last start. Won Maiden on turf and could run on for Placais. 12
7 EL CHAPO *** Disappointed last start when slowly away following Maiden win. Could improve for William Pike. 5.00
8 ELISE ** Only battled last start but blinkers back on and this type of race is his caper. 16
9 FEROCIOUS ** Has ability but returned a roarer last start (again) and have to take on trust. 25
10 LADRONE ** Has speed and could show up from good gate. 16
11 XIONG FONG ** Dropped into this class last outing but didn't show up. Needs to show improvement. 16
12 SACRED GURU * Placed over this trip three starts back but needs to improve on recent efforts. Gear change and Michael Rodd may help. 16
Selections; 3 YAYA PAPAYA - 1 HIDDEN PROMISE - 6 ELITE WARRIOR - 9 GOLD REWARD
Another open affair with most being those that don't win out of turn. YAYA PAPAYA is a three-year-old of some promise who has struggled at recent starts but might find this easier; he has won at this trip and can show up with Glen Boss to ride. The one horse proven at the trip is HIDDEN PROMISE and while his recent form is poor, this class suits and he should get a good run throughout and could be hard to hold off. ELITE WARRIOR was having his first try at this distance last start and placed; he is well drawn again, meets similar company and with Alan Munro up should be handy throughout. Of the others, REINE DASHER showed welcome improvement last start and be prominent for a long way while GOLD REWARD was run down over the final stages last start in a similar affair and should be prominent throughout. For the exotics include CASING ROYAL who could win if near his best. Betting Strategy - YAYA PAPAYA each-way.
1 HIDDEN PROMISE *** Recent form poor but the look suitable from gate 3 with Duric up and tongue-tie off. 4.00
2 CASING ROYAL ** Recent efforts moderate but has a good record at this trip and could run on. 12
3 YAYA PAPAYA *** Has struggled at recent starts but looked to have some in hand last start and this trip is his caper. Can win. 4.00
4 REINE DASHER ** Showed improvement in this grade last start. Should be prominent for a long way. 6.00
5 NORTHERN KNIGHT * Hasn't won for a long time. Tongue-tie off but needs to improve on recent efforts. 33
6 ELITE WARRIOR *** Placed over this trip in KSD company last start. Well drawn and with Alan Munro up should be handy throughout. 4.00
7 OCEAN MASTER ** Made some ground over 1200m last start. Stepping up in trip. Take on trust. 25
8 O'REILLY BAY * Recent efforts moderate and improvement needed. 33
9 GOLD REWARD ** Run down over final stages last start. Well drawn again and should be prominent. 6.00
10 SUN EMPIRE * Yet to win beyond 1400m and only battled last start. Will go forward and give a sight. 33
Selections; 1 DISTINCTIVE DARCI - 2 WIMBLEDON - 5 ROYAL RULER - 9 AUTUMN RUSH
The first of two KSA races over 1200m on the poly and not surprisingly some smart horses make up the field - none more so than DISTINCTIVE DARCI. The 4YO blotted his copybook since blinkers were added on a yielding turf surface last start but is much better on the poly as his Merlion Trophy win showed; he is a genuine Group performer on the poly and with Vlad Duric to ride from gate three, he is the one they have to beat. The dangers are hard to find and much depends on whether they are at their best. SPEEDY DRAGON has battled at his past two outings in Group company but has been trialling well so should improve and WIMBLEDON on best form would be the hard to beat but has been disappointing at recent outings and is first up after a poor run. Of the others, ROYAL RULER won a KSB when resuming and has a good poly record at this trip, while WONDERFUL and AUTUMN RUSH are tested at this level but usually race well. Betting Strategy - DISTINCTIVE DARCI win.
1 DISTINCTIVE DARCI *** Struggled on yielding track last start but better suited this surface. Won Merlion Trophy two starts back and will be hard to hold off with Vlad Duric to ride. 2.50
2 WIMBLEDON ** Resuming after poor effort but recent trial was good enough to consider from gate 1 with blinkers to winkers. 5.00
3 SPEEDY DRAGON ** Battled at past two outings in Group company but has been trialling well. Awkwardly drawn but could show up. 5.00
4 JUPITER GOLD * Struggling in stronger company since resuming. Could be running on. 20
5 ROYAL RULER ** Won KSB when resuming. This is harder and drawn wide but has an excellent Poly record at this trip. 8.00
6 ABSOLUTE MIRACLE * Blinkers back on but has been battling at recent starts and might need easier. 33
7 WONDERFUL ** Made some ground when resuming for new trainer. Hasn't won for a while but well drawn and could get a good run throughout. 10
8 KRATOS * Won KSC when resuming but struggled last start with support and will find this harder. 25
9 AUTUMN RUSH ** Caught wide and fought on in KSB last start. This is harder and poorly drawn again but will be running on with no weight. 16
10 MIGHTY CONQUEROR * Excuses last start but Battled at past two outings. Might need easier. 33
11 FLAK JACKET * Racing consistently but this class tests an better on the turf. 16
Selections; 5 WECANDO - 4 WAIALAE - 6 DAVID'S SLING - 1 SOLO SUN
A very strange Novice with only one last start winner - DAVID'S SLING - in the field. And while he is in well at the conditions and has drawn to advantage and has to be considered, he is up against some handy types in WAIALAE and WECANDO. Not much separates the pair but WECANDO was only narrowly beaten in a Class 4 over this trip last start; he has a tougher gate but should be handy and be hard to hold out with G Boss retaining the ride. WAIALAE sat on pace and fought on well over this trip in Class 4 last start; he is an improving 3YO trained by Lee Freedman and should be right in this with Michael Rodd to ride. Of the rest, SOLO SUN ran on fairly at his Singapore debut over 1200m and will appreciate the extra distance while THEAGENESOFTHANOS does show some promise and gets the W Pike treatment. Betting Strategy - Swinger/forecast Quinella WAIALAE and WECANDO.
1 SOLO SUN ** Ran on fairly at Singapore debut and will appreciate extra distance. Cranbourne Maiden winner over 1600m who should be running on. 6.00
2 JUSTICE SMART ** Went forward on the poly last start over 1200m and showed speed before being run down. Should get a good run throughout and 2kg claim helps. 8.00
3 SUN LION * Has struggled since arrival in Singapore and in badly at the conditions. 50
4 WAIALAE *** Sat on pace and fought on well over this trip in Class 4 last start. Hard to beat with Michael Rodd to ride. 3.00
5 WECANDO *** Sat on the speed and was narrowly beaten in a Class 4 over this trip last start an hard to hold out here on fairer track. 3.00
6 DAVID'S SLING *** Raced wide but put in strong effort to win on poly over 1200m last start. Reverts to turf but should be prominent from good gate. 5.00
7 PHUKET * Needs to improve on efforts to date. 50
8 I AM THE BOSS * Blinkers added but impossible to have. 33
9 THEAGENESOFTHASOS * Has had some support at both outings and battled on OK last start. Gets William Pike and could run on. 25
10 FIFTH COMMAND FLAG * Has shown nothing so far. 33
Selections; 8 AL GREEN - 2 LINCOLN ROAD - 4 VIVIANO - 5 RAISE NO DOUBT
The second of the KSAs and this one is much more open than the previous. AL GREEN is very honest and he fought hard and just missed last start after placing behind Distinctive Darci the run prior. He has an awkward gate but Glen Boss and Stephen Gray are in form and he should be hard to run down. LINCOLN ROAD was not far away in the Merlion Trophy and has a great poly record but the concern is he is yet to win beyond 1100m. VIVIANO is very consistent and finally broke through last start; he drops back in trip but will be hard to hold out again. Of the others, RAISE NO DOUBT found the Lion City Cup too hard but is better suited here and the claim for CS Chin helps while GRAND CROSS has been freshened by a recent trial and can show up for Michael Rodd. For the exotics include RAFAELLO and POSEIDON. Betting strategy - AL GREEN win.
1 POSEIDON ** Unsighted in Lion City Cup when resuming for new trainer. Could improve but all wins have been on turf. 10
2 LINCOLN ROAD *** Not far away in Merlion Trophy at odds and has trialled strongly since. Should be hard to run down. 6.00
3 RAFAELLO ** Normally seen on the turf and drawn awkwardly but has won and placed at only two poly outings. 10
4 VIVIANO *** Very consistent and finally broke through last start. Drops back in trip but hard to hold out again. 4.00
5 RAISE NO DOUBT *** Found Lion City Cup too hard but better suited here and should be prominent for a long way with handy 3kg claim. 7.00
6 GRAND CROSS ** Freshened by recent trial. Better on turf but has won on poly and should be on the speed throughout with Michael Rodd up. 7.00
7 SPANISH BAY * Struggling and hasn't won for a long time. 50
8 AL GREEN *** Fought hard and just missed last start. Awkward gate but should be prominent. 4.00
9 CHALAZA * Has struggled at past two outings but could improve with blinkers added. 16
10 GOOD NEWS * Hasn't won for a long time and did not show up when resuming. 33
11 MR LUCK * Won KSC when resuming but battled in KSB last start. This is harder again and poorly drawn. 33
Selections; 1 COUNTOFMONTECRISTO - 2 ELITE INVINCIBLE - 10 LIM'S MAGIC - 3 TANNHAUSER
COUNTOFMONTECRISTO is thrown in at the set-weight race conditions of the Stewards Cup on a rating of 112 - an amazing 17 points above the next best - and given he is in form at WFA Group level and 1400m suits, he just wins. Just to be sure, Willy Pike is on-board and his winning strike-rate in Perth (WA) is fast becoming folklore; get on! Who keeps him honest? Obviously ELITE INVINCIBLE has a rating (95) that puts him into calculations and is one of the few horses that have raced at Group level; his last start placing in the Committee's Prize was very good but he did carry only 50kg on that occasion. LIM'S MAGIC is the interesting runner. The 4YO is only rated 69 so should face an impossible task but he is progressive and could surprise. TANNHAUSER, CURVATURE, MR FATKID, ONLY WIN and the mare, AOTEAROA, others to include in exotics. Betting Strategy - COUNTOFMONTECRISTO strong win.
1 COUNTOFMONTECRISTO *** Honest without being a winning threat in the Lion City but heads and shoulders above most here and hard to beat. 2.00
2 ELITE INVINCIBLE ** Just missed in the Committee's Prize but had no weight. Gets blinkers and should be prominent throughout. 7.00
3 TANNHAUSER ** Facing biggest test to date but has ability and 1400m should suit. 12
4 CURVATURE ** Tested at set-weight conditions but hard to fault form since arriving and should figure in the mix. 12
5 PAPARAZZI * Disappointing in the Lion City and may struggle again from wide gate. 50
6 MR FATKID ** Has shown previously to be competitive at most levels and gets blinkers so should figure prominently. 12
7 DESPACITO * Better than what he has shown at his last couple but tested over 1400m. 50
8 ONLY WIN ** Tested this level and drawn awkwardly but in super form and will be running on strongly. 12
9 MAGIC CITY * Honest over this trip and gets the favours from gate 1 but place best in this field. 50
10 LIM'S MAGIC ** Impossible at race conditions but excellent first-up run behind subsequent Guineas winner will have him under notice. 8.00
11 BLACK JADE * Will win races in Singapore but a big test at this level. 33
12 AOTEAROA ** Handy mare who brings Kranji Stakes A winning form into this and will have admirers. 12
13 MAKANANI * Gets blinkers but impossible on recent form. 50
Selections; 10 WALKING THUNDER - 4 LIM'S KNIGHT - 1 QUEEN ROULETTE - 3 MY HORSE
With a genuine pace courtesy of TALES OF SUMMER assured, a busy finish is expected with plenty of nice types likely to be doing their best work late. But WALKING THUNDER should get the favours from gate 1 and A Munro will have choices and most likely get a beautiful trail on the pace and his form suggests he will be hard to hold out in the straight. LIM'S KNIGHT has drawn wide but will most likely get back and be running on strongly. The 5YO may even start favourite on recent form - he won this trip and Class two back - with V Duric a factor. Of the rest with genuine winning hopes, QUEEN ROULETTE had excuses last start (saddle slipped) and she can win on previous form, TALES OF SUMMER will be in front for a long way, while MY HORSE is arguably in the best form of them all but is having his first start on the turf so that may be a concern. Betting Strategy - WALKING THUNDER win, saver on MY HORSE if value.
1 QUEEN ROULETTE *** Ignore last start when saddle slipped and a big show on form prior. 4.00
2 TOLIMAN * Never a threat when resuming but would have benefitted from the outing. 33
3 MY HORSE *** Poly specialist who is unknown on the turf but form too good to ignore. 5.00
4 LIM'S KNIGHT *** Won a similar affair two back and ran on well late last start over 1400m. Will go close here with best work late. 4.00
5 MEET AND GREET * Handy enough former Australian who will need longer to show his best. 20
6 TALES OF SUMMER *** Honest, will lead and look the winner at some stage in the straight. 7.00
7 ATHENA * Early bump may have been costly last start but should need easier. 50
8 OXBOW SUN * Not at his best of late but can go forward and will battling way late. 33
9 STAR GENIUS * Better than what he showed last start but may need easier with blinkers removed for this. 50
10 WALKING THUNDER *** Excuses last start and a big show on form prior with blinkers back on with gate 1 a bonus. 4.00
11 SACRED EMPIRE * Another newcomer - this one from NZ - that will need longer to show his best. 50
12 TURQUOISE KING * Recent placing this trip but better over longer and looking for easier. 50
13 GOODFELLAS * No. 200