Savvy Command skips Stewards’ Cup, but stays on Derby trail

Savvy Command (Vlad Duric) pulls out all the stops to fend Tangible (Shafrizal Saleh) off on Saturday.

By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club

The decision to steer Savvy Command towards Stewards’ Cup day’s easier Class 3 mile race has in a funny roundabout way open up doors towards a Singapore Derby path.

The Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) and Group 1 Singapore Derby (1800m) are the balance of four-year-old feature races still up for grabs following the cancellation of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge with the non-running of the first Leg, the Group 3 Silver Bowl (1400m).

There is no Triple Crown at stake, but the two majors remain coveted prizes on the racing calendar with the Stewards’ Cup still seen as the natural lead-up to the Derby three weeks later on July 25.

When Walker elected to bypass the Stewards’ Cup, most would have jumped to the conclusion that the Derby was by ricochet off the menu for Savvy Command as well. With a record that reads four wins between 1200m and 1400m, he didn’t quite map towards such an event at weight-for-age conditions.

Even the 1600m was unknown territory, but after the game son of Savabeel came off a ground-saving run on the rails to make every post of the home straight a winning one, just staving off Tangible (Shafrizal Saleh) by a short head, Walker was a lot less half-hearted about a push towards the Singapore Derby, a race that had proven elusive thus far for the New Zealander in his 11 years at Kranji.

“I think we’ll have a go at the Derby,” said the three-time Singapore champion trainer.

“Today, I picked the Class 3 race on the same day and not the Stewards’ Cup as I believe he’s still learning. I also knew Vlad couldn’t ride Savvy Command in the Stewards’ Cup as he is on Big Hearted, but he could ride him in the Class 3 race.

“I really wanted to get Vlad’s opinion about the Derby. He gave him a good ride, he was positive and managed to get him back.

“He didn’t win by much, but you turn four only once, and we’ll run him even if I will have to find another jockey as he’ll ride Big Hearted (a cracking second to Mr Malek later in the Stewards’ Cup).

“Having watched the Stewards’ Cup and I saw the winner and the second horse, they’ll be awfully hard to beat, but he deserves his chance.

“He would need to get a good barrier so he can get some cover as he can go keen. When he is in the open he pulls.

“In saying this, it would seem the Derby won’t have that big a field and may not have a lot of depth. So I think he has a chance.”

As a clear indication of the Remakable Stable’s galloper’s current glowing form, Savvy Command was bringing a third win from his last four starts, with the winning streak only interrupted by a second place to Quarter Back at his last start in a Class 3 race over 1400m on June 12.

That day, he had excuses after he was caught wide punching the breeze, but the different pattern on Saturday saw the $26 chance bounce back with a vengeance – and a Derby ticket to boot.

Gold Star (Hakim Kamaruddin) ran third another length away. The winning time was 1min 35.85secs for the 1600m on the Long Course.

With that fifth win along with two seconds and one third, Savvy Command has now amassed close to $220,000 in stakes earnings for his owners.

Author: iRace