Handy sprinter Skywalk returns from his unplaced effort in the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m) for his preferred Polytrack surface in Sunday’s $250,000 Korea Racing Authority Trophy (1200m).
The Battle Paint four-year-old drew marble one in Singapore’s premier sprint race (prizemoney increased to $1 million this year), but was beaten for early speed. He still scraped paint, but despite the ground-saving run in mid-division, he never flattered when called upon, finishing a mild 10th, seven lengths off the winner Lim’s Cruiser.
English trainer James Peters said the China Horse Club-owned chestnut had excuses, though.
Skywalk is aiming to atone in the Korea Racing Authority Trophy (1200m) on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club
“He was coming back after six days (after winning a Kranji Stakes B race over 1100m the Sunday before), it was not ideal,” he said.
“Dan (Moor) said he didn’t handle the wet track on that day. He’s come through well.
“The KRA Trophy is worth having a go as it’s a set-weights race, and he gets in right at the maximum MRA rating of 95. He also loves the Poly and the distance is not a problem.
“I kept him fresh for two weeks after his last run. He is in good shape, and I was happy with his barrier trial the other day (third to Royal Ruler last Wednesday).”
Champion jockey Vlad Duric, who scored on him at the last of his six wins, jumps back in the irons. Besides, Moor is currently serving a two-day ban for careless riding, effectively ruling him out for the second China Horse Club sprinter Peters is saddling in the annual reciprocal race between the Korea Racing Authority and the Singapore Turf Club, Grand Cross.
The four-time winning (1100m to 1200m) Fastnet Rock five-year-old will be ridden by a new partner in Craig Grylls, who does ride a fair bit for the Chinese outfit, with no finer example than the Lee Freedman-trained Curvature, a gutsy winner on Derby Day on Sunday, and whom he has ridden at all his seven starts for four wins.
“Grand Cross is rated 90 and he also gets in well at the weights. He’s won mainly on turf, but he won his first race on Polytrack,” said Peters.
“He’s running in a feature race for good money. He was in the same trial as Skywalk last week and I was also happy with the way he went (fourth, just three parts of a length off stablemate Skywalk).
“He’ll be a nice lightweight chance in the race. Craig rides Curvature for the China Horse Club and will ride Grand Cross on Sunday.”
Last year, Peters was the only Singapore-based trainer who sent a runner to the return Leg of the KRA Trophy in Seoul, the domestic Group 1 Keeneland Korea Sprint (1200m) – Wimbledon, one of China Horse Club’s best servants in Singapore.
But the son of Snitzel did not go a yard in the deep sand of the LetsRun Park Racecourse, finishing 12th under Moor (flown in from Melbourne then), around 14 lengths off the Japanese horse Graceful Leap.
Peters, who currently sits in ninth spot on the Singapore trainers’ log on 23 winners, said it never occurred to him that Sunday’s race could be some form of testing ground towards the Korean sprint race, which is usually staged in September.
“No, I’m just running these two in Sunday’s race here. I haven’t thought about the other race in Korea,” he said.