By Michael Lee – Singapore Turf Club
“All’s good with him,” was trainer Shane Baertschiger’s succinct but still ominous summing-up of his rising star Bold Thruster’s condition after his victorious barrier trial on Tuesday.
The Australian handler is down to the short strokes with the Turffontein three-year-old’s prep towards his racing comeback which will take place in the first Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, the Group 3 JBBA Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m) on April 5.
After Bold Thruster ran fourth to Super Six at his first barrier trial on March 5, Baertschiger had cautioned the Tivic Stable-owned black gelding would be a different proposition at his next trial with the addition of blinkers, the gear he donned at all his four wins from six starts.
True to his word, Bold Thruster (John Powell) dictated terms the same take-no-prisoners way he does in his races, before careering away to an easy 1 ¾-length win from smart sprinter Zac Kasa (Michael Rodd).
“All’s good with him. As we can all see, he’s come back bigger and stronger after his break,” said Baertschiger.
“He’s also a different horse with the blinkers on, and he ran time (59.37 seconds) as well. That trial will bring him on.
“He will have one more gallop. As he’s racing on Friday, he will have the gallop on Monday.”
With the 3YO series being run at set-weights, Powell will finally get to jump on Bold Thruster in a race, something he has not had the chance to do since his debut as a two-year-old in one Leg of the Singapore Golden Horseshoe series last year. The Australian heavyweight jockey could not make the low weights assigned at his subsequent starts, with now Adelaide-based jockey Barend Vorster the lucky replacement at all four wins.
Tivic Stable’s racing manager Jason Goh, an owner in his own right (of Singapore Derby winner Well Done fame), was on hand to watch Bold Thruster’s penultimate hit-out, coming away suitably impressed.
“I’m very happy with today’s barrier trial. He jumped out very fast and won very easily in the end,” said Goh.
“I didn’t know Zac Kasa was in the same trial. That made the win even more impressive.
“He hasn’t raced since the (Group 3) Saas Fee Stakes (1200m on November 9) and Shane and the boys have done a good job to bring him back to his race fitness.
“He will have one more gallop and should be ready for the first Leg of the 3YO series.”
Mr Thomas Loke’s Tivic Stable red and black chevrons silks are no stranger to success in the famed challenge. Six years ago, Stepitup made a clean sweep of the three Legs for ex-Kranji trainer Sonny Yeoh.
After the Sprint, the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge moves to the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1400m) on May 3 before culminating with the Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1600m) on May 25.