Michael Lee – Singapore Turf Club
After a slight hiccup, Nimble is right back on track for another shot at keeping his unbeaten run going this Good Friday.
Leticia Dragon’s Perth import has won four from four since his Kranji debut in Class 4 Premier company in October, but faced a sterner test in the Japan Racing Association Trophy, a Class 1 race over 1200m on turf last Sunday week.
He was, however, scratched after he was found to be lame earlier in the day. The race was eventually captured in impressive fashion by Aramco in the slick time of 1min 08.94secs for the 1200m on the Long Course, 0.79 second outside Spalato’s record established in 2014 – and more than one second quicker than Nimble’s best time (1min 10.09secs).
“He was slightly lame before the race. It was not that bad, but as he’s such a good horse, he was withdrawn for precautionary reasons,” said Dragon.
“It was his right hind leg that was hurt, but he got over it fast, and he’s back in action now.”
Whether Nimble (85 points), who was weighted at only 50kgs that night (Aramco was on 56.5kgs), would have measured up to the big leap in class (last of his four wins was recorded at Kranji Stakes C level) will never be known, and is probably irrelevant.
The fully recovered gelding raced by MMW Stable contests the $85,000 Class 2 race over 1100m this Friday, noticeably a much softer option than the race he missed, not to mention there are only six rivals to beat as opposed to 13 in the Class 1 race, most of whom were rated upwards of 90 points.
Nova Swiss, who has been struggling to regain his Polytrack supremacy of old, is the highest-rated contender on 96 points on Friday, but Dragon still respects the opposition.
“There weren’t many options for Nimble. He won his first two races on Polytrack, anyway,” said Dragon.
“It’s a small field but he’s also meeting a couple of good horses like Elite Power and Nova Swiss. We’ll be guided by how he runs and then we’ll decide if he goes to the Rocket Man Sprint or the Lion City Cup.”
The Group 3 Rocket Man Sprint (1200m) is a handicap sprint feature due on May 5 while the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m) is the country’s premier Weight-for-Age sprint feature scheduled three weeks later on May 25.
“At this stage, I will keep him to sprint races – this race on Friday followed by either the Rocket Man or Lion City,” said Dragon.
“Then we’ll see how he goes. We may step him up in distance up to 1400m afterwards.”
A one-time winner (when known as The Shoe) over 1200m in Perth at his race debut for trainer Stephen Miller in Pinjarra in January 2017, Nimble was tested six times beyond the six furlongs in Western Australia. Though he did not win, he was not disgraced either.
With Nimble handicapped at 54kgs, Dragon could not use his two winning partners, John Powell and Michael Rodd (two wins apiece), both heavyweight riders.
“JP and Michael could not make the weight, S John (Sundradas) is suspended. It was between CC Wong (Chin Chuen) and Troy See, and we picked Troy in the end,” she said.
“Troy claims one kilo, which is also a bonus. He has not ridden him in trackwork as he’s already done most of his gallops before.
“But that’s okay, he’s a straightforward horse and he’s been working well in the last week or so. Let’s hope Nimble is quick again – like Jack in the famous nursery rhyme!”