Via Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Assistant-trainer Scott Bailey is drawing on his personal knowledge of I’m Incredible’s family to back the stable’s judgement in taking the recent Committee’s Prize winner on a Gold Cup trail.
The five-year-old son of Lope De Vega has in eight starts at Kranji not ventured beyond the mile, the distance of the Group 3 Committee’s Prize, but will tackle 2000m for the first time in the $150,000 Group 3 Ultima El Dorado Classic this Friday.
Previously known as the Mandai Classic Stakes, the El Dorado Classic has become well entrenched as the traditional prelude to the $1 million Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) on November 10, the race that had been in trainer Shane Baertschiger’s sights for the gelding raced by long-standing owner Desmond Ong of Doha Stable.
The Australian handler then took a huge leap of faith by running him in a Group 3 race when his last-start win came in Class 4 company. A slashing win not only vindicated him, but also gave a glimpse where his strongest suit might lay.
From the way I’m Incredible allowed tearaway leader Makanani to roll along in the Committee’s Prize on August 18 before reeling her in close home gives every indication the 1 ¼ mile will not be an issue.
The El Dorado Classic will give the definitive answer, but Bailey already has a fair idea which way the result will go on what he’s seen the mother do in the flesh.
The former Adelaide jockey remembers I’m Incredible’s dam Moment In Time as a handy stayer who ran second in both the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) and the Group 3 SA Oaks (2500m), both run at Morphettville, in 2008.
At her next start after the SA Oaks, trainer Mick Huxtable sent the daughter of Archway to Melbourne where she won the Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) under champion jockey Damien Oliver.
“I know the dam well. I never rode her but she was racing in Adelaide during my time and she was a good staying mare,” said Bailey who hung up his boots in 2012 and moved to Singapore the same year as a stable supervisor with ex-trainer Steven Lam before joining Baertschiger a few years later.
“She finished second in the SA Oaks. I’m Incredible is by Lope De Vega as well, so the distance is not a query, he’ll be okay.
“He trialled in Queensland and has done everything right since he came to us as an unraced.”
Bailey said the fact that I’m Incredible was again well in at the weights should put him in good stead for another bold showing.
“He has trained on since his last win. He’s pulled up like he never went around,” he said.
“He’s on the Gold Cup path and that race was always meant to be his next start.
“I’m very happy with where he is at, he trialled well last Thursday. He will get a nice run from the barrier (five) and Harry (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) gave him a 10-out-of-10 ride last start, so he stays on as he’s again got a nice light weight.”
The Malaysian lightweight rider rode I’m Incredible at 50kgs in the Committee’s Prize, but will this time ride him at 54kgs.
Stablemate and old stalwart Blue Swede, who ran a closing fifth to I’m Incredible in the Committee’s Prize, will also be in the mix. He carries 55.5kgs, has drawn two and will have stable jockey John Powell up.
“There aren’t many races for Blue Swede. As is always the case, it all depends if he turns up on the day,” said Bailey of the O’Reilly nine-year-old who scored the last of his eight wins back in July 2017.
“He’s an old customer and just keeps doing his thing.”
Two days later, the yard saddles Preditor in this week’s highlight, the $800,000 Group 1 Raffles Cup (1600m), a race that has eluded Baertschiger so far, but not his father Don who won it with Con Air in the same pink family colours in 2000.
“Preditor has drawn wide (15) in the Raffles Cup. We’re not sure what tactics we’ll use yet,” said Bailey.
“Powell will have to weave some magic, but look, it’s an open race and you never know. Ever since Debt Collector has left, it has opened up the fields a little better.”