By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Visors are coming on Tuesday this Saturday just so trainer Michael Clements can hopefully present the exciting three-year-old “minus a few quirks” as a daunting Group 1 task in one month’s time looms.
With a smart record that reads three wins and one second in five starts mostly in Polytrack sprints, the son of Deep Field is, at 68 points, still no surefire shot to the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m) on April 24 – the first feature race to launch the substantially trimmed-down line-up, both in numbers and prizemoney – but not an unrealistic hope either.
This Saturday’s $70,000 Class 3 race over 1200m will let Clements know if visors are the answer, and at the same time, give Tuesday a chance to prove his mettle on turf, a surface he tried only once, and without success, finishing unplaced at his final 2020 start in October, and pointedly, over the same course and distance as the Lion City Cup.
Thai-based Singapore champion owner Falcon Racing’s new find has since banged in two more brilliant wins on Polytrack (1100m and 1200m) since resuming, but they were not without concerns.
“Tuesday is a progressive horse, and we thought we should give him a go on turf if he is to run in the Lion City Cup,” said Clements.
“Hopefully, he can be as impressive on turf as he has been on Polytrack at his last couple of starts.
“He still needs to pick up a few points to qualify for the big race (Lion City Cup), though. We can’t judge him on just the one run on turf, he’s an Australian-bred, I see no reason why he should not handle it.
“He was, however, a bit wayward at his last two runs. He had a tendency to hang in when he was in the middle of the track.
“I’m putting visors on. He galloped well twice with them on, including yesterday.
“He was a lot more focused. Louis (Philippe Beuzelin) told me he handled them very well.”
Clements’ No 1 jockey is however, jumping off him on Saturday to ride Falcon stablemate Quarter Back.
Tuesday might be the one with more buzz, but the more glowing turf profile of Quarter Back, a Japanese-bred six-year-old by Empire Maker has swayed the French jockey – five wins (1200m-1400m) on turf and only one on Polytrack (1000m).
“Louis will ride Quarter Back. The horse trialled very well last week (won on March 11),” said Clements.
“He’s a consistent horse that sits at the top of Class 3. He likes the turf and distance.
“It was a difficult call for Louis as the two horses are pretty much level, but he’s chosen Quarter Back in the end.
“Juan Paul van der Merwe will ride Tuesday. He’s won on him once (when they slay a Class 4 field over 1100m on January 30) and he should know the horse well enough.”
Clements also saddles another Lion City Cup hopeful in Celavi, but will have to count on a starter to get out for the Fighting Sun four-year-old mare to get in.
“I’d be happy if Celavi gets a run. She’s the same as Tuesday, as in she is more of a Polytrack mare,” he said.
“She resumed pretty well after the break (second to Darc Bounty in a Class 3 1100m race on February 27), but she’s getting back on turf.
“If she goes as good on turf as she goes on Polytrack, she’ll run well, but first, she needs to get in.”