After playing out various speedmap scenarios for Sunday’s $100,000 Kranji Stakes B race over 1600m in his mind, Maximus’s regular partner Troy See has singled out the other flyer in the field, Lim’s Shot as the pivotal player.
Singapore’s current leading apprentice jockey is bidding for a sixth win with the Lemon Drop Kid five-year-old (he rode him to all his previous five wins) but recognised that the task at hand was a lot more arduous this time around.
Not only is the Alwin Tan-trained gelding shouldering a hefty mass of 59.5kgs, which is, however, dropped to 58.5kgs courtesy of See’s one-kilo allowance, but he also jumps from the outermost alley in the nine-horse field while the equally fleet-footed Lim’s Shot (Noh Senari) has drawn better in two.
Maximus (Troy See) faces a sterner test in the Kranji Stakes B race over 1600m on Polytrack on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club
Maximus’s last two victories were carved out by leading from start to finish after beginning from relatively low draws.
“It’s obviously a stronger field this time. Looking through the card, Lim’s Shot is the one who has a lot of speed over shorter distances, but it’s the first time he’s running over the mile,” said See.
“I think he will carry 55kgs as I doubt Noh can claim. Should Lim’s Shot go forward from his inside gate, it’s okay as my horse is very versatile and can also take a sit.
“But my horse is also very fast out of the gates and has a lot of early pace. In which case Lim’s Shot may have to be used a little to go forward, and as he’s a query over the trip and without the two-kilo claim, he may not run out the distance if he has to burn the candle at both ends.”
Should Maximus run well and pull up in good order, there may even be bigger fish to fry for him in two weeks’ time.
While Tan was showing a guarded optimism ahead of Sunday’s assignment, he has already tagged the IB Racing Stable-owned chestnut as a trump card for the $500,000 Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy (1600m) on April 27 – and possibly a much loftier target in May if things pan out well.
“Maximus won a nice race at his last start but he had a soft lead in front after jumping from gate No 1,” said Tan, referring to the Kranji Stakes B race (1600m) taken out by Maximus on March 11.
“It’s much tougher this time with the top weight of 58.5kgs and the fact he is also running against a stronger field.
“The one I respect the most is Yulong Xiong Hu, a horse who keeps improving and has drawn barrier No 1. I thought Sandtop, who is a Group winner in Macau, would run better last Friday, but he was a bit disappointing, maybe he can bounce back here.
“Kirks Ryker and Lim’s Shot are also horses who I think will be dangerous in the race.”
Maximus, who has a rating of 89 points, might not have performed at the same level as Tan’s other higher-rated duo of Infantry (113) and Nova Strike (103) already pencilled in for the Chairman’s Trophy (see other report), but Tan said he was a progressive sort who would not be out of his depth.
A one-time winner for trainer John O’Hara at his first three starts, Maximus has really turned the corner since his second win, in a Class 4 race over 1100m last November, which came under Tan. He has since added three more wins between 1100m and 1600m, all on the alternative track.
“I’ll see how Maximus goes and how he pulls up – I may run him in the Chairman’s Trophy, too,” said Tan.
“No doubt, he won all his races on Polytrack but he ran a nose second to Black Swan in a turf race two runs back.
“I am actually going to nominate all three – Infantry, Nova Strike and Maximus – for the Kranji Mile.”
The $1.5 million Group 1 Kranji Mile (1600m) will for the first time be run as an invitational race on May 26, alongside two other $1 million Group 1 races, the Lion City Cup (1200m) and the Singapore Guineas (1,600m) as part of an initiative to reboot the International races in Singapore by earliest, next year.