The Lightning To Strike At Kranji On Saturday

First due off @ 06h30 on Saturday

With two more months to go before the running of the Gr1 Singapore Derby on 21 July, trainer Tim Fitzsimmons will be hoping for a good showing from Lightning Strike in the SG$70,000 Class 3 race over the same trip on Saturday at Kranji.

The Derby hopeful will likely be having two starts before lining up in the third and last feature race opened only to four-year-olds this year. The two other feature races for four-year-olds are the Gr3 Silver Bowl and the Gr2 Stewards’ Cup that will be run on 09 and 30 June respectively.

Lightning Strike pictured at his last win on 30 December

Lightning Strike seen here at his last win on 30 December (Pic – STC)

After the Class 3 race on Saturday, the four-year-old son of Impending will have his next start in the Stewards’ Cup. Coincidentally, Fitzsimmons won both the Stewards’ Cup and the Singapore Derby with Golden Monkey, who finished third to Lim’s Kosciuszko in the Gr1 Kranji Mile three days ago, last year.

With one third in a Class 3 race on 30 March and one fourth in another Class 3 race on 21 April this season, a good showing over the Derby distance is just what the doctor ordered, before a freshen-up back to the mile of the Stewards’ Cup.

Lightning Strike won a strong barrier trial in a time of 1 min 1.57secs under race jockey Ryan Curatolo last Thursday and Fitzsimmons thought he was ready to show his best.

“Yes, Lightning Strike is on a Singapore Derby preparation,” said the 2022 Singapore champion trainer.

“I was really happy with his trial last week. Ryan rode him and I couldn’t have asked for more.

“We will skip the Silver Bowl and he’ll go to the Stewards’ Cup, then straight to the Singapore Derby. That’s the plan.

“Lightning Strike will really appreciate stepping up to 1800m on Saturday and Ryan knows the horse well.

“So I expect a good run but the Singapore Derby will be his grand final.”

Lightning Strike will have company as Fitzsimmons also fields Saint Tropez and King of Sixty-One in the eight-horse field on Saturday.

It is a strong hand made even stronger, given his trio are in form and they look well suited over 1800m. Fitzsimmons was also bullish about their chances.

“I’m happy with all three horses. The race suits them,” he continued.

“King Of Sixty-One (x Gutaifan) won well at his last start – a Class 4 race over on 27 April and trialled well (finished second to Lightning Strike) last week.

“Obviously Saturday is a tougher race where he steps up from Class 4 to Class 3, but he’s in good form. He hasn’t ran a bad race and jockey Bernardo Pinheiro is a good frontrunning jockey, so it’s nice to have him on.

“I thought Saint Tropez ran really well at his last start (finished sixth to Cavalry in a Class 2 race on 04 May). He got too far back but finished off really nicely.

“The longer the better for Saint Tropez and jockey Daniel Moor will jump on; so it’s all good.”

Fitzsimmons also reflected on a frustrating Kranji Mile with his three runners Dream Alliance, Golden Monkey and Raising Sixty-One finishing second, third and fourth respectively in the SG$1 million Group 1 showpiece.

“They all ran really well and couldn’t do much more, apart from winning the race obviously,” he said.

“The barrier (10) didn’t help Golden Monkey. We always knew he would get back but he didn’t have a heap of luck.

“Raising Sixty-One got held up a little bit as well and did his best work late.

“Dream Alliance was fantastic. He continued to improve.

“To do that at set-weight conditions after running second in the Gr1 Singapore Gold Cup (over 2000m on 11 November) at handicap conditions was testament to his improvement. Also, having a world-class jockey Mark Zahra on him helped.

“I can’t fault any of their runs and they are all in a good spot.

“We will let the dust settle before looking at where to next. There are a few options for all of them actually, but we’ll decide in the next few weeks.”

Saturday’s first at Kranji is due off at 06h30.

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