By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Trainer Young Keah Yong could not fault My Dreamliner’s overall shape ahead of his comeback in a fortnight, even if doubts still linger how the racing juices will flow after such a prolonged layoff.
The bold sprinter narrowly won his barrier trial from the Lee Freedman-trained Minister (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) on Tuesday morning, looking well within himself under jockey Benny Woodworth after coming from third place in the running, but the rigours of racing are a different score.
The Dream Ahead four-year-old has been a model of consistency for Young and owner Tang Weng Fei at Kranji. He boasts six wins and one second in 10 starts, and even when he missed out on the minor placings, he was not far off in fourth.
At his last start in a Class 1 race over 1200m on the last day of racing before the three-month break due to COVID-19 (April 3), he tried to make all but after mounting a stiff dogfight inside the last furlong, found three better in the end, including the winner Skywalk.
Young has found a 1100m race at Class 2 level for My Dreamliner at the next Kranji meeting on July 26, having a mind not to overtax arguably the best horse he has put a bridle on in a budding training career that began in 2017.
“After his last run over 1200m, I discussed with the jockey and the owner and decided to keep him to 1000m-1100m races, which suits him better,” said the Singaporean handler.
“He didn’t lose too badly, though. He led and had a fairly soft lead, toughed it out when Skywalk loomed up, and it was only in the last 100m that he got beat.
“That race in two weeks’ time is perfect. He’s done nothing wrong so far and he’s been working well as usual, and I was happy with his trial this morning.
“I’m happy with his condition but it’s been too long of a break. Honestly, I don’t know how to assess that. It’s a big question mark.”
My Dreamliner was pigeonholed as a typical speed machine in his early racing days, but Young said he has mellowed out a touch with age.
“You saw from his trial this morning he doesn’t have the same gate speed as before,” said Young.
“It’s a good thing as he used to be very keen. We want to teach him to settle behind a leader and then chase.
“He’s also running in a strong field in that first race back, but he’ll be competitive if he’s fit enough.”