Kranji First Off At 06h00 On Saturday

The Hollywoodbets Punters' Challenge is up for grabs

Fresh off a treble last Sunday, jockey Ryan Curatolo is eager to continue his winning run with a solid book of eight rides this Saturday at Kranji.

While most of them looked to be each-way hopes on a day headlined by the return of Singapore’s top galloper Lim’s Kosciuszko in the SG$100,000 Kranji Stakes A race, the Tim Fitzsimmons-trained Mt Niseko looked to be a serious chance for the French hoop in the Lucky Last.

Mt Niseko seen here at his last win in a Class 4 race on 14 October (Pic – STC)

The four-year-old son of I Am Invincible will carry the top weight of 59kgs in the SG$50,000 Class 4 race that suits, and although he drew wide in gate nine, Curatolo was confident of a very good showing from Mt Niseko.

A daughter of I Am Invincible turned heads in the news this week when when she sold for A$400,000 to top Day One of the 2024 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale – read about it!

“He’s a very nice horse,” said Curatolo, who sits fourth on the jockeys’ log on 13 wins, only one win behind the third-placed Marc Lerner.

“He had issues at his last start (respiratory distress after finishing ninth in a Class 4 Division 1 race over 1200m on 11 February) but his run before that in Class 3 (finished second to Knippenberg over 1200m on 9 December) was very good.

“So while he will be the topweight, he’s in the right company and I was very happy with his trial (finished third to Major King in trial no 3 on 14 March).

“He has drawn wide but he’s the type of horse you want to relax, so that should not be a problem. I will see what Tim has to say closer to the race, but I would think if Mt Niseko settles, he will finish off the race very strongly.

“I’ve only been on two of Tim’s horses before, unplaced on both Gold Governor and Thunderstorm this year, but yet to win one for him. Hopefully, that changes this weekend.”

Fitzsimmons was also looking forward to legging up the Frenchman on Saturday and agreed with Curatolo that Mt Niseko could show his best.

“We had been looking for a nice horse for Ryan to ride,” said the Australian conditioner, who won the Singapore trainers’ premiership in 2022.

“We had to give Mt Niseko a freshen-up after his last run, but he’s good now. He trialled well last week but has drawn a bit sticky again.

“It would have been nice to get a low draw with the 59kgs but he looks to be a decent chance in this race.”

Of his other rides, Curatolo hoped the Steven Burridge-trained Winning Stride can turn his honest form into a win in the SG$50,000 Class 4 race.

“Winning Stride deserves another win,” said Curatolo.

“We just missed it at his last start over 2000m (beaten a head by Pacific Bao Bei in a Class 4 race on 24 February) and I think he is better suited over 1800m.

“It’s a small field (of eight) and we should get a good run from barrier seven. He’s very consistent and with luck, I think he can win this race.”

Reflecting on his treble last week, A Better Tomorrow in the Open Maiden race over 1600m, Commander Jones in the Class 5 race over 1400m and Energy Baby in the Class 4 race over 1400m, Curatolo was rapt to get winners for supportive owners and trainers.

“It’s always good to ride winners and the treble was a great result,” he explained.

“I’m getting really good support from many owners and trainers, so to get some wins on the board for them is very satisfying.

“I always work hard and want to do the best I can with each ride, but it will be hard to ride winners without support.

“I was especially pleased with Energy Baby. I won on him at his previous start (in a Class 4 race over 1400m on 17 February) and for him to win again with more weight (58.5kgs) was very good.

“And I’m very happy to be riding in Singapore in its final year.

“Dayle (wife) is from Singapore and her family are here, so it’s great to get the chance to spend quality time with them while we can.”

Kranji first is due off at 06h00 on Saturday – don’t forget to take the free-to-play Hollywoodbets Punters’ Challenge on this racemeeting.

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