By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Patrick Moloney has just commenced his new long-term licence at Kranji and has yet to win a race, but he has already notched a major win for his own resume for 2020 – the plum ride on last year’s Singapore Gold Cup winner Mr Clint.
After the Australian rider partnered the Lee Freedman-trained stayer at the barrier trials on Tuesday, he hopped off looking pleased with the hit-out, but even more so with the new link-up.
The Power five-year-old five-time winner was restrained in midfield and though he was never really tested, he still finished off to a nice fifth place, four lengths off the winner Darc Bounty (Michael Rodd).
“He had a quiet trial this morning. It was his first trial since the Gold Cup and it was a great opportunity from Lee to ask me to ride him,” said Moloney, a winner of four races at Kranji at a one-month stint in August last year.
“He felt fantastic this morning, as I was told he normally doesn’t show much in his trials. He was without blinkers and he was hard-held all the way to the line.
“Lee has given me the ride on him first-up in the Chairman’s Trophy (1600m). I was told I will stick with him and hopefully that will lead to bigger and better things.”
The young rider was making a barely veiled allusion to the racing riches at the end of the year leading ultimately to a title defence of his Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) heroics under Craig Williams last November.
Freedman confirmed that was the plan for the Oscar Racing Stable-owned gelding who gave him his first Group 1 win in the Singapore Guineas (1600m) in 2018, but not that he had to plot a path for him.
“These types of horses pick themselves through these races,” said Freedman.
“There aren’t many races they are eligible for. He will run in the Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy (1600m) first-up in mid-February (15), the Group 3 Committee’s Prize (1600m), and then I’ll give him a break before bringing him back for the big races leading up to the Gold Cup.”
If his workout on Tuesday morning was anything to go by, the Australian trainer has reasons to believe Mr Clint is in for another big year.
“This horse trialled terrific this morning. He normally doesn’t show much on the Poly,” he said.
“He’s really switched on in the last six starts or so. Before that, he was up and down, not very consistent, but he’s continued on with that great form turnaround into this year.
“I got Paddy Moloney on him and he was happy with that first trial. I’ve known the Moloneys from the time I just started out as a trainer, his grandfather Jim trained the great sprinter Vain.
“His father Gerard and uncle John are now trainers. It’s a great racing family and I’m happy to put Paddy on Mr Clint.”