Time to Kiss bridesmaid tag goodbye

John Powell steers Kiss Your Song to his maiden win on July 6, 2018.
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Via Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club

Kiss Your Song holds a record which won’t make many owners go hungry, but it would still be nice if he could shed that tag once in a while – eternal bridesmaid.

The on-pace five-year-old has frustratingly found one better at his last five starts, beaten less than one length all the time.

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He does know where the line is, though. Last year, Shane Baertschiger’s valiant sprinter strung up three wins in a row, with the last one coming in a Class 3 race over 1100m on August 24, 2018.

The son of Your Song raced 10 times this season, seldom disappointing, coming close many times but that winning post has become elusive. While silver is the next best thing to gold, that bittersweet taste of being a nearly-horse can also test someone’s patience as time passes by.

Determined to have all his ducks in a row, Baertschiger has booked the best in the business for the steering job on Kiss Your Song in this Friday’s $70,000 Class 3 race over 1100m this time.

Third title chaser Vlad Duric, who just gave Baertschiger a second Group 1 success with I’m Incredible in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m) on Sunday, will ride Kiss Your Song for the first time.

“JP (John Powell) is riding Leticia’s (Dragon) horse (the unbeaten Surpass Natural), and that’s fine. Vlad will ride him for the first time, and we hope that whipping might just give him that extra edge to win,” said Baertschiger.

“He is the most consistent horse around, unfortunately, also the most consistently second horse. He has five seconds at his last five starts, but it’s actually a record of seven seconds in his last eight starts.

“The only time he finished worse than second was when he ran fourth over 1200m six starts back. It was a bit far for him, or who knows, it could have been eight seconds in a row!

“He’s had 25 starts for 11 seconds, and only finished out of the placings five times. And he’s already made more than $300,000 in stakes money, even if he’s won only three times, what more can you ask?

“He’s so genuine and has such a will to run well. Even when you test him up in class, he still runs second – like in that Class 2 race two runs back (beaten by Pennywise).”

Baertschiger is, however, under no illusions that there is a high likelihood they may still end up playing second fiddle again, especially with Surpass Natural in the line-up.

“Leticia’s horse is unbeaten and remains the horse to beat,” said the Australian handler.

“But Kiss Your Song is in good shape, he has drawn one, Vlad on board, and we can only hope he can go one better this time.”

It would be a nice reward for the patient owners, the Bingo Stable, who have played a significant part in Baertschiger’s training career.

“They used to own El Milagro, who was my first Group winner (Group 3 Kranji Sprint in 2013),” he said.

“Now, besides Kiss Your Song, they also race Catch The Tiger and Always Innocent. I’d be really rapt if they could win with Kiss Your Song tomorrow.”