Singapore’s top sprinter LIM’S CRUISER is nearing a return to the races and trainer Stephen Gray has lofty overseas ambitions for his six-year-old later in the year.
LIM’S CRUISER proved his mettle on the big stage last year with an eye-catching performance in the HK$20m Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m), finishing hard and fast into seventh with the winner MR STUNNING just 3 ½ lengths in front at the winning post.
That performance was enough for Gray to start thinking outside the box some more.
Speaking to iRace, Gray said that England was a possible target for LIM’S CRUISER this year, the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1,207m) on the final day of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting on June 22 a race he was keen to attack.
“If things go well in his first two (comeback) races, I am keen to look at Royal Ascot,” the New Zealand handler said. “I have spoken to the owner, Mr. Lim Siah Mong, and his racing manager Mick Dittman – they see the merit in this option but nothing’s been seriously discussed yet.”
The serious discussions won’t happen until LIM’S CRUISER satisfies both trainer and connections at home, the Group 3 Rocket Man Sprint (1,200m) on May 5 pencilled in as a first-up assault before aiming towards a third successive victory in the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1,200m) on Kranji Mile Day on May 25.
“If things go well here, and Royal Ascot eventuates, I would also consider staying for the Group 1 July Cup (1,207m) on the final day of Newmarket’s three-day July Festival meeting,” Gray went on to say. “These are good options with the hope of some easing in the tracks, and the timing is perfect!”
LIM’S CRUISER had his first barrier trial since Hong Kong on March 14 and will have two more spaced out before his first-up run in May.