California Dreaming

Gr1 Singapore Airlines International Cup

On track. Godolphin’s City Style on the polytrack in Singapore earlier this week

South Africa has a proud record in the $3 million Gr1 Singapore Airlines International Cup. Time sure flies and past winners include the ill-fated Lizard’s Desire (2010) and current stallion Jay Peg(2008). In 2012 our patriotic connection is by way of jockey Felix Coetzee who rides California Memory for his former boss, Tony Cruz.

Herman Brown trained last year’s winner Gitano Hernando for Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. He was ridden by Australian-based South African jockey Glyn Schofield and beat Pocket Power’s awesome sister River Jetez in a memorable race. This year we rely solely on Felix Coetzee to stoke the fires of our national pride.

Coetzee will still be smarting from the obvious disappointment of the scratching of Rocket Man from the Krisflyer International Sprint and gets on California Memory. The consummate professional will have his attention focussed on the big prize though. He replaces regular rider Matthew Chadwick on the American-bred son of Highest Honor, who ran second in the QE 11 Cup last year, before finishing eighth in this race.

Tony Cruz and Felix Coetzee will go down as one of the great trainer-jockey partnerships in world horseracing in the modern era. When they parted company after a powerful association that dominated Hong Kong from 1999 to 2008, Cruz said: “I won two championships with Felix as my retained jockey. We won two Derbies, a Hong Kong Mile with Lucky Owners, and 17 straight wins with Silent Witness.While Felix was riding for me, we broke George Moore’s record for the number of wins in a season, and the all-time single-season prize money record, too. Felix was always very dedicated and professional, never late for work a single morning, and I’d say a real model for the apprentices as the sort of jockey they should strive to become.It will be very hard to get a person to replace Felix Coetzee.”

That says it all and would it not be a fairytale were they to team up and win this big prize?

California Memory had a blank scorecard in Dubai, but was running on for fifth behind Rulership in the QE 11 last month. He worked one and a half laps on the polytrack on Tuesday and looked a million dollars. “I’m happy and I have a happy horse. He’s eating and drinking and his weight is good. I cannot be happier for now.” said work rider and travelling foreman Cheng Ka Po.

The last of the visiting raiders to arrive on Monday evening was the Godolphin-owned City Style . The six year old is trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni and will be ridden by Dubai World Cup winning jockey Mickael Barzalona, who is fast developing into something of a Frankie Dettori with his antics!

City Style came out of quarantine for England in a late decision to run here as he was considered so well and practically ‘jumping out of his skin’. Travelling head lad Andrea Mascolo said City Style had come through a long campaign in Dubai in good fashion and had continually improved his form throughout the season.

Michael Freedman sends out the five year old Not A Single Doubt gelding Always Certain, who comes off a fruitless Dubai campaign. He won the Raffles Cup eight months ago, but appears to lack the current form to be a factor.

The New Zealand-bred Waikato won the QE 11 Cup last time out beating New Rose Wood and is quite a revelation since switching from sprinting to ground.He will be one of the few horses in history to have run in both the Krisflyer International Sprint and the Singapore Airlines International Cup. He improved from fourth in 2010 behind Lizard’s Desire to dead-heat for third in the shadow of Gitano Hernando last year. He finally cracked the 2000mwith his big win last time and even at the age of eight could prove competitive.

The Singapore Airlines International Cup is carded as the tenth race and is due off at 14h40.

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