Kranji – Burridge’s Ejaz To Tackle The Poly

Kranji first due off @ 06h30 on Saturday

The Steven Burridge-trained Ejaz will likely be one of the fancied runners in the SG$70,000 Class 3 race on Saturday at Kranji, albeit that it will also be the four-year-old’s first start on the Polytrack.

Ejaz will have his first test on the Polytrack in the Class 3 race this Saturday

Ejaz will have his first test on the Polytrack in the Class 3 race this Saturday (Pic – STC)

A winner of four races from 8 starts all on the turf, Ejaz had been steadily rising through the grades and placed second behind the smart Pacific Vampire at his last start in a Class 3 race over 1200m on 27 April.

The Polytrack should hold no fear given his good form at the barrier trials, including his most recent second to fellow race contender Renzo in trial no 2 on 21 May.

Also, the Australian-bred is sired by Street Boss from the USA, which probably suggests the all-weather track would not be a concern.

But for Burridge, proving himself on the Polytrack would give the connections more options going forward for Ejaz, that had more than his fair shares of issues.

“We have to take care of Ejaz,” said Burridge.

“He had a year off racing when he had the pin put into his knee, in March 2023, so we took our time with him and he showed plenty first-up (finished fourth in a Class 3 race over 1200m on 9 March 2024).

“He jarred up at his next run in a Class 3 race over 1400m on 30 March, but again showed his potential with a good second at his last run. But he did take a while to get over that effort.

“So we have to watch him carefully and I think the Polytrack may take the jar out of his legs.

“Although he was not under race pressure, he showed at his trials that he enjoys the track, so there’s no reason why he shouldn’t run well.

“He worked well his morning for jockey Manoel Nunes too. Ejaz didn’t need much after his trial and I can’t fault his form going into Saturday.

“If he races well on the Polytrack, it will give us options going forward. So it’s all good.”

Nunes is fresh from a four-timer last Saturday and is now tied on 34 wins with fellow Brazilian hoop Bruno Queiroz on the jockeys’ log, albeit sitting back on a lesser countback for seconds. He was also confident of a strong showing from Ejaz.

“He’s a smart horse,” said the five-time Singapore champion jockey.

“Without his leg issues, he would be a Class 1 horse. But it’s a miracle he came back to racing at all.

“I think the Polytrack will help him. I know it’s his first race on the track but he always trial well and his pace work this morning was good.

“The 1100m may be a little sharp for him. I would prefer 1200m, but it’s a small field (of 10 runners) and he should run well.”

Of his quartet of wins last Saturday, the Brazilian ace was pleasantly surprised after not expecting much prior to the meeting.

“To be honest, my rides were nothing special last week so I didn’t know what to expect,” he explained.

“I thought Flying Fighter (x Showtime) was my best ride in race two but he had no luck at all (finished third in an Open Maiden race over 1400m), so I thought it might be a tough day.

“But Super Bowl (x Shalaa) won easy in the next race (in the Class 5 Division 1 race over 1700m). I knew he would be competitive down in Class, but to win by three lengths was a nice surprise.

“I didn’t like my chances on Wan Legacy (x Ocean Park) from gate 13 over 1400m (in the Class 5 Division 2 race), but I think the rain helped and he just won (by a neck).

“My last two winners were both good each-way chances. Arya Pakuan (x Sebring) (looked due and had a nice gate (1) but it’s nice to get the result (in the Class 5 Division 1 race over 1400m) for trainer James Peters.

“Per Incrown (x Per Incanto) was in solid form and the last race (Class 4 race over 1200m) wasn’t overly strong, so I was very happy for him to get up and give me four on the day.”

With only four months to go in the shortened 2024 season, Nunes knew every race counts in his head-to-head battle with Queiroz.

“I would love to get a sixth Singapore jockey championship,” said Nunes, who will be presented with his fifth Champion jockey award at the Singapore Racing Awards 2023 on Tuesday night.

“It’s a good battle. Bruno can ride at 51kgs and I can ride at maybe 53kgs, so Queiroz has two kilos on me. Every ride counts and hopefully, I can continue winning this Saturday.

“Apart from Ejaz, I think Cool Sixty-One (x Vespa) will run well (in the Class 4 race over 1200m).

“He is a difficult horse to ride as he can hang in, but he is knocking on the door. I think he will get his chance with a good barrier.”

The first is due off at 06h30 on Saturday at Kranji.

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