New beginnings for Saraab this Friday

Saraab (Olivier Placais) records his last win at Kranji on September 2, 2018.
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Via Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club

Donna Logan is keen to see Saraab have his first start under her care this Friday, hoping to see the gelding hold up well after the niggling issues he had to overcome.

The Argentinian-bred six-year-old by Heliostatic came to the New Zealand trainer with a decent record of three wins and four placings from 14 starts, even if he had shown chequered form of late.

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At his peak, he recorded two wins between 1600m and 1700m when prepared by trainer Ricardo Le Grange and ridden by Oscar Chavez before scoring first-up at his first start for trainer Michael Clements with Olivier Placais astride in a Kranji Stakes B race over 1000m last September.

Unfortunately for his owner Mansoor Gandhi of Al-Arabiya Stable, Saraab’s next five starts – including two at Group level (last in the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy over 1400m and fourth in the Group 3 Colonial Chief Stakes over the Polytrack mile) – were not as good.

Saraab even returned lame at his last start when last to Mikki Joy in a Kranji Stakes B race over 1600m on turf in February. He was then moved to Logan a few months later.

“He’s trialled quite well in his lead-up to his comeback race this Friday,” said Logan, who already trains Burkaan and Shahbaa (seven wins for her between them) for Al-Arabiya before Saraab and Iffragal (also racing on Friday in the last race, the $50,000 Class 4 Division 3 race over 1200m) joined her from Clements.

“He’s had a long time off the scene as he’s taken some time to get back to full fitness. That’s why I am putting blinkers on him to sharpen him up as he’s been away for so long.

“He’s a horse who has had back issues, which we have taken care of. We’ve put him through all sorts of treatment – massage, acupuncture.

“When he last raced, he also returned lame, but I think that’s because he’s got really thin soles. That issue was long fixed.

“He’s had a few aches and pains in his body, but he’s a lot happier with himself now.”

Logan is not expecting fireworks at Saraab’s comeback race in the $85,000 Class 2 race over 1200m, treating that run more as a stepping stone to future outings.

“He’ll be better after a couple of runs. He is an older type now and we have to take him race by race and see where he ends up,” said Logan.

“Mr Mansoor wanted to put Amirul (Ismadi) on him and we were happy to have him on. He claims only one kilo but every kilo helps.”

Trainer Stephen Gray’s Malaysian apprentice jockey will not be at his first partnership with Logan, having steered Burkaan to victory once on April 26.