Second-year trainer Tan Kah Soon said that Sunday’s $200,000 Group 3 Jumbo Jet Trophy (1400m) was the only “sensible” option in his search for a suitable comeback race for his stable star Clarton Super.
The two-time Group winner has not been seen since his cracking fourth (he was second-best local after Nova Strike) behind the Hong Kong 1-2 of Southern Legend and Horse Of Fortune in last May’s inaugural Invitational Group 1 Kranji Mile.
Tan backed off the Swift Alliance six-year-old while knowing he would have a predicament when running a sliding rule through the racing calendar to look for his next big-race assignment.
Clarton Super (Azhar Ismail) at his Fortune Bowl win in February, picture Singapore Turf Club
The Jumbo Jet Trophy jumped out of the page – and the Group 1 Raffles Cup rejigged as the first Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown series and run over the mile for the first time could be next.
“The Jumbo Jet was the sensible race to bring him back in,” said the Godolphin-trained Malaysian conditioner.
“We’ll take it from there after that. There aren’t many choices for horses like Clarton Super, but a lot of horses are in the same boat as us.
“The 1400m of the Jumbo Jet is perfect for him. He won his two feature races over that trip – Group 2 EW Barker Trophy and Group 3 Fortune Bowl.
“But he ran well over the mile as well. I think I will at this stage keep him to 1600m.”
Clarton Super’s last two outings came over the mile, albeit in defeat. He first ran seventh to Circuit Land in the Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy (when he cast a shoe) before his meritorious fourth in the Kranji Mile.
“The horse is well and I was happy with his barrier trial last week (July 31) when he ran second to Eye Guy,” said Tan.
Clarton Super had regular partner Azhar Ismail in the irons in the barrier trial. The gelding was supposed to have one last gallop on Saturday, but a minor hiccup has put it off to Wednesday.
“I’m happy with his preparation, except he had some minor shoeing issues like last time. We were supposed to gallop on Saturday but we’ll do that tomorrow now,” said the Malaysian multiple champion jockey.
“But he’s fit enough and he doesn’t really need a major gallop. Let’s hope he can go well on Sunday.”
A five-time winner for the Pentagon Stable of Mr Tang Kim Chwee, Clarton Super posted his first three wins under the care of trainer David Hill, Tan’s former boss before bringing up his last two wins for Tan, both at Group level, the first hurrah in the EW Barker Trophy barely six weeks after he launched his first runners at the end of September.