Singapore Racing – Friday

Friday 26 April

Better Life

Better Life winning the Gr1 Singapore Gold Cup – Singapore Racing 11 November 2012

The iconic Queen Elizabeth II Cup highlights a great days racing in Singapore and indeed a great weekend with the top sprinters going round on Sunday in the Lion City Cup. But all eye’s on two of Singapore best middle distance horses with FLAX and BETTER LIFE head-lining the Group 2 QEII Cup over 2000m. The horses have gone head-to-head previously with BETTER LIFE getting the points winning the Group 1 Kranji Mile and more importantly, the time-honoured Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup on November. In between those races, FLAX did win the Group 1 Raffles Cup (sans BETTER LIFE) and both horses have since had a well-earned break and one run in preparation for the QEII Cup with one eye on International duties in May. And while BETTER LIFE looks to have the upper hand, FLAX has drawn gate one and given what he showed from the inside alley in the Singapore Airlines International Cup in 2012 – leading before placing third behind CHINCHON – he has to be respected. The field has depth – DEEP POCKETS, READY TO STRIKE and NANDOWRA to name three that could have a say- but expect FLAX and BETTER LIFE to be fighting out this finish and continue what could be a battle royale in many races to come. Elsewhere on the card a flashy grey newcomer by the name of FIRST TOTHELIGN is one to watch in race 2. The 3YO Align gelding has shown plenty at the trials and his recent slick outing at the jump-outs suggest he could blow them away on debut for the in-form John Powell/Shane Baertschiger combination.

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Best Bets; FIRST TOTHELIGN (race 2, win), BETTER LIFE/FLAX (race 7, forecast/swinger) and LET’S SEE ACTION (race 8, value).
Bankers for Jackpots: Race 6 (2 and 3), race 7 (1, 4 and 11), race 8 (1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 9), race 9 (1, 2, 4, 6, 7 and 9).

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Race cards and Larry Foley’s synopsis follows and for updates on all runners go to www.kranjiracing.com
Please note the odds listed are “reference odds” only.

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Race 1

Selections; 8 GOLDEN LARK – 10 QUI EST LA – 2 MAX RESOURCE – 9 GYPSY STAR
There is not a great deal of speed in this Class 5 over 1600m on the Polytrack and this could suit QUI EST LA who is second run back from a spell, trialed well recently and with Verenzuela on top could find himself crossing and leading without much trouble; he may be hard to run down. But GOLDEN LARK has drawn the ace and if Alan Munro can have him handy enough in running he will sure to be doing best work late and can win. We also like the fact his only win was over the mile and his recent racing – with best work late – has been exclusively over 1200m. MAX RESOURCE has been racing in great form since returning from his let-up, with his regular rider Sam Subian up and suited at the mile, he gets back and runs on but should be hardest to beat. GYPSY STAR found the 1200m too short last start, he won one of these four starts back and with Oscar Chavez steering from barrier two should get a nice run. Joao Moreira is on the battler THINK AHEAD and he should keep him honest, CAN’T TOUCH ME’s best form is on turf but he is down in grade and has Harry Kassim on top, and if the emergency DRAMA SUPERSTAR gets a run she will be another running on late.

1 CAN’T TOUCH ME *** Down in grade and has claim for top apprentice but more comfortable on turf and alley no assistance; keep safe. 9.00
2 MAX RESOURCE *** Three starts this time in have been excellent; strong chance again. 4.50
3 VANQUISH * Second up from spell and has never won beyond 1200m. 50
4 ZAC FLAMBOYANT * Done nothing in four starts but may improve with Nunes and a good alley. 100
5 THINK AHEAD *** One-pacer who battles away so step up to mile in his favour; Moreira will keep him honest. 5.00
6 BUKIT ROSE WOOD * Only win was at this trip but has shown little since dropping into Class 5. 16
7 NORTHERN CAT ** Back on poly and won twice in this Class in January; distance may test. 10
8 GOLDEN LARK *** Gets back and runs on; good effort last start and suited here over mile; hard to beat. 5.00
9 GYPSY STAR *** Found 1200m too short last time, won one of these four starts back; should be running on late. 7.00
10 QUI EST LA *** Returned from let-up with solid 5th after travelling wide, trialed well since, distance suits and should give a sight. 5.00
11 KING CROSS * Maiden who is a day-to-day proposition; distance will test with up-grade to blinkers. 33
12 RED SENSATION * Will race handy but fades; unplaced in all 12 starts. 200
13 DRAMA SUPERSTAR ** Gets a long way back and runs on; chance if she gets a start. 20
14 KAEPEEYAI ** Honest old veteran who will run on and is always a chance. 20

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Race 2

Selections; 7 FIRST TOTHELIGN – 9 STAR RAINBOW – 12 WORLD OF FAME – 4 GOLDEN CHALICE
A Restricted Maiden over 1200m and as usual a large number of unknowns. FIRST TOTHELIGN may well be just that, he has been smashing them at the trials and from the good alley John Powell should give him a good debut. Hard to beat you would think and punters won’t miss him. STAR RAINBOW has done nothing wrong at his two outings and despite his awkward draw, Moreira should have him in the firing line all the way. WORLD OF FAME also did enough on debut to think he improves for Alan Munro with gate one a factor. GOLDEN CHALICE has been thereabouts and with Zawari’s claim should race well. ACORDO DE PAZ is Brazilian-bred from the Pat Shaw yard who works and trials well enough to deserve consideration and the other first starter KATE’S KEEPER with Harry Kassim up is a likely type. In a very open affair, FLASHWIND, CARRY ON FAMOUS and SICILIAN DRAGON have shown enough to be included in the exotics.

1 FLASHWIND * Stopped as if shot last start but previous effort was sound; nicely drawn and could show up. 33
2 SICILIAN DRAGON ** Placed once in four outings when ridden forward; should be thereabouts again. 20
3 NATURAL AHEAD ** First-up effort was poor for Moreira but the horse did it tough so pay to forgive; Shafiq takes a claim and should improve. 20
4 GOLDEN CHALICE *** Not far away at recent outings in Class 5; gets his chance with nice draw, downgrade to winkers and claim for Zawari. 8.00
5 ACORDO DE PAZ ** Brazilian bred whose trials have been fair; watch market. 20
6 CARRY ON FAMOUS ** Decent effort at first start; barrier does not help but should be improved. 33
7 FIRST TOTHELIGN *** Flashy grey who has been smashing them at the trials and should be hard to beat from the good alley. 2.20
8 KATE’S KEEPER * Looks a useful type and could show up on debut; market best guide. 33
9 STAR RAINBOW *** Has raced well at only two outings, no luck with barriers but can win. 4.00
10 SOARING WIN ** Showed speed but returned not striding out freely on debut; should improve. 33
11 BEVERLY HILL * First start, trials okay; watch market. 33
12 WORLD OF FAME *** Handy effort at first start, well drawn and has top rider; goes close. 6.00
13 HOST THE NATION * Resuming and did little at first preparation. 200

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Race 3

Selections; 1 LONESOME ME – 3 QUINTA DE LAGO – 2 CHRISTMAS – 6 CHINA EAGLE
A 1700m affair on the Polytrack and the small field could well suit LONESOME ME who should get out on his own, dictate terms and be hard to run down. QUINTA DA LAGO put in his best performance for some time last start and Moreira takes the mount for Laurie Laxon; he should be the one having the last crack at them. CHRISTMAS was racing very well until his last outing, Harry Kassim stays on, the only concern is that is best efforts have been when a senior rider has been aboard. CHINA EAGLE has won over this trip and is well weighted and has a nice alley. ARABIAN NIGHT is one paced but he will be running on at the end.

1 LONESOME ME *** Likes this trip and will appreciate claim for Zuriman; should race well. 3.00
2 CHRISTMAS *** Blotted his copybook last start but never really involved and previous form was outstanding; Harry Kassim stays on and should race well in the small field. 2.50
3 QUINTA DE LAGO *** Showed significant improvement last start and Moreira takes the mount; should race well. 2.60
4 LUCKY TWENTY TWO * Last few efforts ordinary, nice alley, good rider; on trial at the trip. 50
5 ARABIAN NIGHT * Can be one-paced but battles on and could get in the mix. 20
6 CHINA EAGLE ** Not far away last start and has won at this journey; like to see in Class 5 but could surprise. 12
7 GRAVLAX * Maiden who will be suited by the distance and small field, but would prefer an easier race. 33

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Race 4

Selections; 1 MULAN – 3 NOBODY BUT YOU – 5 EMPRESS WU – 10 SMITTEN KITTEN
A race for Fillies and Mares over the 1200m on the turf and the usual suspects assemble. Shafiq replaces Munro on the Takaoka-trained MULAN, she will carry the same weight as she did when she accounted for a very similar field four weeks ago; once again she should be hard to beat. In that race POWER ANGEL ran on strongly for second and NOBODY BUT YOU had the gun run and was overwhelmed late. The weight conditions are identical though and NOBODY BUT YOU swaps Nunes for Moreira and a worse draw but might improve on turf. The interesting runner is EMPRESS WU a 2YO winner in Perth who has been trialing nicely, has a good draw and Tengku Rehaizat to steer; she could run a bold race. SULMONA was tad disappointing last start but she loves these mares’ affairs and could bounce back, KALLISAN usually races well fresh and has the wizard Harry Kassim and both CARIBBEAN MOON and CLARITY could improve. SMITTEN KITTEN may appreciate a solid early pace and the B Course and be flying late at long-odds.

1 MULAN *** With Shafiq’s claim will carry same weight as when she scored in similar affair over same distance last start; bound to race well again. 3.50
2 SULMONA ** Disappointed last time but usually goes well in these; with Nunes up should give a bold sight. 7.50
3 NOBODY BUT YOU *** Was run down last time on the Poly in similar company but in the mix late here. 5.00
4 AFTERNOON DELIGHT * Resuming and will need the run. 20
5 EMPRESS WU *** Won over 1000m in Perth as a two-year-old. Trialing well and should make a strong debut; market best guide. 4.00
6 KALLISAN ** Handy mare resuming; usually goes well fresh and should be prominent. 14
7 POWER ANGEL ** Stormed home last start and meets winner on same terms, albeit on the turf; should race well. 5.00
8 CLARITY * Maiden and better in that class. 33
9 CARIBBEAN MOON ** Has been disappointing, blinkers off and has no weight. Could surprise. 16
10 SMITTEN KITTEN ** Like to see in easier company but can grow wings late if race run to suit swoopers. 50

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Race 5

Selections; 1 MR BEAN – 9 NINETYFIVE ARRIVAL – 10 SERGEANT PEPPER – 2 MY SACRIFICE
A race for Claiming riders over 1400m on turf and MR BEAN, back in Class 5, looks in his element here. His form in Class 4 has not been all that bad and he has shown in the past that he can put paid to most Class 5 horses; he should race well with Shafiq as the pilot. NINETY FIVE ARRIVAL is still a maiden but his last two efforts have been good; with Tengku Rehaizat on top he should get a good run and finish strongly. Matt Kellady is on SERGEANT PEPPER who has been thereabouts at recent starts, the tongue-tie comes off but he should be in the mix again. MY SACRIFICE has been racing well, 1400m may be as far as he wants to go but he has the experienced Aslam to steer. STEALTH FIGHTER is still a maiden but is never far away and should go well again. FOREIGN EXCHANGE has been very disappointing but he is way down in the weights and if he put his best foot forward would be well in this. FIRST EXPRESS, HERBS N SPICES and ZAC COMMAND are others that could show up in what is, apart from the top-weight, a very open affair.

1 MR BEAN *** Back to Class 5; goes well for Shafiq and over his pet distance; should race well. 2.80
2 MY SACRIFICE *** Last two efforts have been good and wins sooner than later this grade. 10
3 SARONG * Surprisingly in this and not the mares race; speedy but has found 1400m beyond her in the past. 20
4 STEALTH FIGHTER ** Racing consistently in Maiden class and sure to be thereabouts again. 12
5 ZAOCRO HEIGHTS * Done nothing in four starts. 50
6 FIRST EXPRESS ** Resuming, was tried over longer distances last preparation and failed; this may be more suitable and could race well. 20
7 FOREIGN EXCHANGE ** Has been very disappointing and poorly drawn; chance if he does his best. 14
8 SPANISH TRAIN ** Recent efforts on the Poly, poorly drawn and likely to find this too far. 25
9 NINETYFIVE ARRIVAL *** Last two efforts have been good – flying late last start – and could be ready to break maiden status. 6.00
10 SERGEANT PEPPER *** Tongue-tie off, has been around the mark at recent starts and a chance again. 6.00
11 HERBS N SPICES ** Nothing to show in six starts but battles away and has good draw and top apprentice. 14
12 ZAC COMMAND ** Won on poly two starts back but best efforts have been on turf and whilst 1400 may test could show up. 12
13 JUMBO * Battler whose only win was on Polytrack. 50
14 DIAMOND ON THE BAY * Form poor. 50
15 SAMURAI KID * Veteran who has won at the trip but poorly drawn. 25
16 AUDIO FRIEND ** Only win was at 1400m; never that far away and a chance if he gets a run.

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Race 6

Selections; 4 ONE SMART CAT – 2 CAVALLO – 5 COUNTRY CLUB – 6 BIGDINERO
Punters and most pundits will find little between two horses – ONE SMART CAT and CAVALLO – in this Class 3 Poly dash. CAVALLO probably just starts favourite given the Moreira factor and the fact he drops back to winnable company after a very solid effort on the turf at Group level. His Poly record is excellent – seven starts for three wins and four places – and whoever beats him wins. Hopefully ONE SMART CAT is the horse that does beat him and given what we saw last start, he is a big show. That 3 3/4 length win in this company over 1200m was excellent and the fact he did beat CAVALLO three starts back over 1100m is certainly a factor. These races can throw up a surprise (can’t they all?) so not convinced these two fight it out with COUNTRY CLUB, BIG DINERO and last start winner, PEACEFUL WARRIOR, all in the mix.

1 FAST BREAK * Coming of poor run but two back good and chance on best form. 50
2 CAVALLO *** Solid effort in the 3YO Sprint on turf and previous Poly form suggests he is hard to beat. 2.10
3 PEACEFUL WARRIOR *** First up win similar affair a beauty and best work expected late again; keep safe. 6.00
4 ONE SMART CAT *** Won like a very good thing last start over 1200m and should be no issue back over the shortest trip. 2.50
5 COUNTRY CLUB *** Ignore last start as improves lengths back on the Poly; value. 20
6 BIGDINERO *** Placed behind ONE SMART CAT last start and can finish closer if luck in running. 12
7 TRY THE CHANCE * No. 200
8 PACINO * Keeps a few honest but might need easier than this. 50
9 SHINING GLORY ** Another who might need it easier but could run a cheeky race from gate two with no weight. 20

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Race 7

Selections; 11 BETTER LIFE – 1 FLAX – 4 DEEP POCKETS – 3 READY TO STRIKE
The QEII Cup looks an absolute cracker on paper and while happy to consider a couple as sneaky winning hopes, it does look a race in two between FLAX and BETTER LIFE. Both horses head to the starter with one run under their belts after big campaigns in late 2012 and both showed more than enough to go super here. In fact nothing really between them in ratings (108 apiece) or form with recent Group 1’s on both horses resumes. Of course BETTER LIFE had the last laugh in 2012 winning the Gold Cup and that win has her the horse to be on here. A handy weight pull courtesy of her sex is a factor as is the fact she did super over 1800m first up so the 2000m of the QEII Cup is a breeze. In saying that FLAX comes into this off a similar prep he had last year where he placed in this race and expect Jose Verenzuela to make use of gate one (as they did in the SAIC CUP in 2012) and give BETTER LIFE a task late. The other two horses to consider are DEEP POCKETS who looks perfectly placed at this trip/level on the B Course to show his best late and READY TO STRIKE who has done nothing wrong on his way to this level. Great race but BETTER LIFE and FLAX the two to be on.

1 FLAX *** Placed in this race last year off similar prep; big show and gate one very handy. 5.00
2 NANDOWRA ** Blinkers off and while in the form that has him winning again soon there is a slight query at the trip. 10
3 READY TO STRIKE *** Answered a few questions winning in this company over 1800m last start and has to be respected. 4.00|
4 DEEP POCKETS *** Doesn’t win often but this race and course should see him having a huge show late; can win. 8.00
5 MARTIN ** Won over this trip/company – albeit at handicap conditions – two starts back and have to respect. 12
6 FATKID * Last couple OK but still needs to lift to consider in the top three. 50
7 SAKIMA ** Very much appreciates first run back and one to include at long odds in exotics. 33
8 MITRE PEAK * Not in good form. 200
9 GOODPACK ** Can’t win at the WFA conditions but showed enough last start to include in skinny end of exotics. 33
10 KING FAALCON * Should be outclassed but ran on well very late last start and would love a tough pace. 50
11 BETTER LIFE *** Backed and not disgraced when beaten into third, first run back from Gold Cup win; hard to beat. 2.30

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Race 8

Selections; 2 EL PADRINO – 7 LET’S SEE ACTION – 5 RUNNING TALL – 1 APACHE CROWN
A strong field and you could make a good winning case for most. EL PADRINO would win a race like this on his day and the fact blinkers are added and the 4YO is coming off a good run suggests he goes close here. His regular rider, Oscar Chavez, stays on-board and should get plenty of favours from gate two. Trainer Pat Shaw plays a big part in this with LET’S SEE ACTION and RUNNING TALL. LET’S SEE ACTION has a terrific first up record and looks well placed with 56.5kg in this company to run a big race. As does RUNNING TALL who was found out at set weights in Group company last start and will certainly play a part in this with 56kg after a crucial 2kg claim from Tengku Rehaizat. Both should be each-way value which is a bonus in a race like this. APACHE CROWN – the stable-mate of EL PADRINO – should also be value and given he has two runs under his belt this preparation and is back in a suitable race, he could show up. Obviously MAKKURA and RONNIE BROWN will get support and run well and it will pay to go wide in exotics.

1 APACHE CROWN *** Work home second run back good enough to watch each-way with handy 3kg claim. 12
2 EL PADRINO *** Did some work last start and excuses not to finish closer; gives this a shout with blinkers added. 3.50
3 MAKKURA *** Placed last two turf runs and has to be respected at first run for new stable. 7.00
4 HAMMER DOWN ** Form reads badly but two runs back have been solid and race suits; exotics at odds. 33
5 RUNNING TALL *** Will find this to his liking after carrying similar weight in Group company last start; goes close. 4.00
6 FIGHTER JET ** Form hard to follow given his best recent runs have been on the Poly; on trust. 20
7 LET’S SEE ACTION *** Resuming after just a fair run of form but goes super first up and a big run would not surprise; can win. 8.00
8 BAHEN ** Too many excuses last start to know how he goes on this surface at this level; query. 20
9 RONNIE BROWN *** Leads and leads well from gate one with only query on the 1400m; goes close. 4.00
10 DYNASTY KNIGHT ** Recent form terrible but back on turf over best trip suggests he improves at long odds. 50

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Race 9

Selections; 1 JET ACE – 4 MEDIA CAPTAIN – 6 TIM – 7 JET MAN
The first two hundred metres or so play a huge part in who wins this Class 4 dash with pace drawn outside and some handy types drawn well. JET ACE has drawn badly in 11 but his early pace should see him leading or handy into the first bend. His form has him the one to beat but obviously Alan Munro will need some luck with horses like HAPPY ENDING drawn inside him. MEDIA CAPTAIN has also drawn wide but could get a nice sit following JET ACE into a handy position. If he does get cover and settle OK, this race fresh looks perfect and he should be in the mix. TIM and JET MAN are both in form and have drawn very well so pick themselves. TIM has Moreira from gate three so will be supported while JET MAN might be OK value from gate one with a handy Harry Kassim 3kg claim. MANNY PACUIAO and HAPPY ENDING for exotics.

1 JET ACE *** In form and enough speed to overcome wide gate and lead; hard to beat. 4.00
2 MANNY PACUIAO *** Issues last start (roarer) and have to respect on what he showed at Singapore debut. 12
3 SCARLET STAR ** OK work late last start and improves at odds here; keep safe. 33
4 MEDIA CAPTAIN *** Draw a concern but fresh and sure to run a bold race; goes close. 5.00
5 MOOVA FISH * Needs to show more. 100
6 TIM *** Close-up in similar affair last start and looks the one the others have to beat here. 3.00
7 JET MAN *** Drawn the ace coming off good maiden win; some hope. 8.00
8 SUGARTIME JAZZ ** Last start win was on turf and has had issues this surface so take on trust with one eye on the tote. 12
9 HAPPY ENDING *** In-from and recent win was with this hop on-board; goes close if on pace early. 13
10 LIGHTNING MAC ** Drawn awkwardly but showed two starts back what he has to offer. 12
11 ARROW TO POST * Starts can be costly and wide gate wont help. 5012 RISING AHEAD * No. 200
13 SUPER AHEAD * Resuming and hard to have. 100
14 POWERPAC ** Excuses last start and form prior has him under notice suitable race although wide gate an issue here. 33
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