Pacific Emperor can bounce back in Stewards’ Cup

Major King, Super Salute & Pacific Emperor battled out the G3 Merlion Trophy.
Pacific Emperor seen here at his last win in the Group 3 Merlion Trophy last October.

By Larry Foley, STC

After missing out the Group 2 Silver Bowl (1400m) on 9 June due to injury, Pacific Emperor will now get his chance to show why he is one of the best four-year-olds in Singapore in the $150,000 Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) on Sunday.

Three weeks ago, connections could only watch on as Lim’s Saltoro landed the Silver Bowl. It was revealed that Pacific Emperor suffered from a stone bruise after finishing a credible fifth to Lim’s Kosciuszko in the Group 1 Kranji Mile (1600m) on 18 May.

The setback, while untimely, was a minor one. The son of Caravaggio was back in work quickly, with his preparation for Sunday’s assignment capped off with a good barrier trial on Tuesday when he did his best work late to finish third to Bravo Kid.

A winner of the 2023 Group 3 Merlion Trophy (1200m) and recent good form around the best middle-distance horses in Singapore in the Kranji Mile, Pacific Emperor looks to be a serious winning chance back against his own age group in the Stewards’ Cup.

Trainer David Kok, who also saddles Pacific MV in the feature race, thought the Pacific Stable-owned gelding can prove himself well against his peers.

“He will find this easier than the Kranji Mile for sure,” said the Ipoh-born conditioner.

“I thought his run in the Kranji Mile was very good considering he’s not really up to the level of those first four horses at equal weights.

“So the drop back to his own age group will definitely be in his favour, but it was a shame we missed the Silver Bowl as 1400m was probably his best trip.

“The mile could test him but he should be fine against the other four-year-olds and if all goes well, he will progress to the (Group 1) Singapore Derby (1800m on 21 July).

Of his minor injury, the multiple Group 1-winning trainer said he was more than happy with Pacific Emperor’s fitness.

“It was nothing serious,” he said of the stone bruise.

“He missed some work and the Silver Bowl but I liked his trial on Tuesday and that hit-out would have him as fit as he can be.

“(Jockey) Daniel (Moor) took it easy early and gave him a nice hit-out late and he (Moor) was very happy with the trial.

“He (Moor) works on him (Pacific Emperor) every day and rode him in the Kranji Mile so knows the horse very well. We have drawn well (in barrier two) and I will leave it to the jockey to ride him.”

Meanwhile, the experienced Australian hoop suggested he will let the horse decide, with race tempo a factor.

“It’s an open book with him (Pacific Emperor),” said Moor.

“You ride him; not to a plan. Ideally, I will leave him alone early and gate two gives us options.

“But it will be dependent on the pace. The important thing is he travels well so we can make use of his sharp turn of foot when it matters.

“While it was a shame he missed the Silver Bowl, the break after the Kranji Mile may be a blessing in disguise.

“I was happy with his trial. He ticked all the boxes I wanted him to and he’s ready for Sunday.”

Author: iRace