By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
With a gap of one month between runs, trainer Cliff Brown decided a barrier trial wouldn’t do Inferno any harm ahead of his grand final and first Group 1 raid next Saturday week.
Kranji’s arguably most exciting prospect easily won the second Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, the Group 2 Singapore Classic (1400m), at his last start on August 30.
The third and final Leg is due on September 26, the $400,000 Group 1 Singapore Guineas over the mile, a trip Brown considered suspect for the six-time winner (only defeat is a second) not too long ago, but all doubts seem to have now been allayed following the commanding style of his last win.
The son of Holy Roman Emperor might be a moral for the clean sweep (first Leg, the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1200m was cancelled due to COVID-19), but the ever-professional Brown has to ensure he is still presented in tip-top shape on Day 1.
The Australian handler put the last polish on the three-time Group winner in a barrier trial on Tuesday, with race-jockey Vlad Duric doing the steering duties.
“There is a month between runs. As he is a lazy trackworker, I thought he’d get more out of an easy barrier trial,” said Brown.
“He did enough without doing too much, which is just fine. He was good, he was not out to break any record, and he still ran on well.
“He only pulled up by the time you get to the place where the horses enter the track from the tunnel.”
Looking barely out of second gear at the tail, Inferno was hardly ever bustled up by Duric, but he still attacked the line once he had the winning post in his sights at the top of the straight.
Inferno could have won easily, but Duric just allowed him to stride into second place, hard held, half-a-length off Sacred Don.
Brown, who is bidding for a second Singapore Guineas after Debt Collector – who, like Inferno, is also owned by Barree Stable – claimed the 2016 renewal, will pair Inferno up with stablemate Trading Post.
The son of Fighting Sun may not be in the same league, but his debut win and a last-start flying third in Class 4 company are proofs of ability.
“He’s okay. We’ll see how he goes,” said Brown who has engaged the services of Singapore champion apprentice jockey Simon Kok Wei Hoong on the Forever Lucky Stable-owned former Adelaide one-from-one winner (when known as Salton Sea) trained by Will Clarken.
Meanwhile, Brown has decided not to run smart newcomer Boomba, an entry in the $75,000 Novice race over 1200m on Polytrack this Saturday.
In the familiar pink silks of Glenn Whittebury’s Barree Stable, Boomba, a Showcasing three-year-old, made it another case of déjà vu with his resounding all-the-way debut win in a Restricted Maiden race over 1200m on September 5.
“Boomba won’t run this Saturday. It would have been an interesting race with Stephen Gray’s horse (Infinite Wisdom) and Mike Clements’ horse (Tuesday), both also debut winners,” said Brown.
“But it won’t happen. We’ll give him another couple of weeks, and wait for a turf race, too.”