Via Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Shane Baertschiger would be hard-pressed to split his quartet of two-year-olds in Friday’s $250,000 Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m).
The in-form Australian handler is just happy he is well represented with four horses (one quarter of the field) who have all peaked at the right time for that final Leg of the annual Singapore Golden Horseshoe series, and who on paper, stand equal chances of passing the winning post first.
This year, besides being by far the tallest, Baertschiger has stood out as the trainer with both the quantity and quality in the juvenile ranks.
No Regrets (two wins, including one in the third Leg, and one unplaced) and Boom Shakalaka (one win, one third) were the first specimens to hit the ground running, followed by Charming Diamond (one win, one third) and finally his “secret weapon” that he has kept for last – Hotshots Slam (one from one). With stable jockey John Powell the pilot on the precocious son of Swiss Ace, it is a strong pointer where the yard’s confidence is leaning towards.
Should he falter, Baertschiger still has three good bullets who can step up to the plate.
Somehow, Baertschiger always figured he would have strength in numbers in the Aushorse Golden Horseshoe this year, even if he couldn’t be 100% certain how many would take their place.
In the end his four-star team made the cut in a 16-horse field that has been branded as one of the most open ever seen in the two-year-old grand final.
Baertschiger, who landed the feature race with Be Bee two years ago, for one could not fault his foursome. While he had publicly made Hotshots Slam his leading hope, he is not too picky about who provides him with a second hurrah in the “babies” championship.
“All four have trained on well. The Aushorse was always their target and I’m glad all four made it,” said Baertschiger.
“They’re all in with a chance – an equal chance I would say. Even if I had to really pick one, Hotshots Slam would be the best one of the four.
“He was not 100% when he won on debut (Restricted Maiden over 1100m on Polytrack on June 21), but he has improved and tightened up since and you’ll see him at his best on Friday.
“Charming Diamond is the only one to have drawn awkwardly. It’s okay as he doesn’t necessarily have to race handy.
“The other three have drawn well – No Regrets in one, Hotshots Slam in three and Boom Shakalaka in eight – and I will have three there up there at least.”
While No Regrets and Boom Shakalaka are proven on turf, Hotshots Slam and Charming Diamond have raced only on the all-weather, but Baertschiger is not the least bit concerned they did not have a round of familiarisation before Friday.
“Both Hotshots Slam and Charming Diamond will be at their first time on grass, but I’m sure they’ll handle it well. They both trialled on grass in New Zealand.”
Baertschiger has booked stable jockey No 2 Matthew Kellady on Charming Diamond (x Showcasing), A’Isisuhairi Kasim on Boom Shakalaka (x Spirit Of Boom) and Joseph Azzopardi on No Regrets (x Showcasing).