Big Hearted ‘MIA’ for now, Latest Racing News

The big races will pop around the corner soon, but trainer Michael Clements will not be calling on one of his stalwarts for a while – Big Hearted.

The 2020 Singapore champion trainer reassured it was nothing serious for the 2020 Singapore Gold Cup winner, but he would rather not rush him.

“Big Hearted won’t be racing so soon. He jarred up from racing on the firm surfaces, without any rain on the firm turf track,” he said.

“No major issues, just some concussions, but we decided to give him a bit of a break, and he’s back in work now.

“But he won’t be racing until the later part of the year.”

A Group staple for Clements last year, the Hallowed Crown five-year-old, however, won only a Kranji Stakes B race over 1,400m last April. He did power home for second in the Group 1 Singapore Derby (1,800m), but his recent efforts had been rather plain.

Seldom short of depth in the elite ranks, Clements can still draw on some firepower when the action hots up with the Group 1 Kranji Mile (1,600m) on May 21.

“I’ll be running Top Knight and Heartening Flyer in the Kranji Mile,” said Clements. “I’m also looking at Istataba, Alqantur and Mariana Trench for the three-year-old races.”

The Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge has ceased, but the first two legs – the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1,200m) on June 18 and Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1,400m) on July 9 – are still around.

“Both Top Knight and Heartening Flyer are well, and will race this week,” added Clements.

The pair, along with Real Success, who backs up from last week, race in today’s $100,000 Kranji Stakes A mile race.

With last-start partner Manoel Nunes suspended for careless riding, Top Knight will be ridden for the first time by Marc Lerner.

Heartening Flyer will be reunited with the other French jockey, Louis-Philippe Beuzelin.

The Barbadian-raised and English-trained jockey is looking forward to getting back on a horse he has steered to four of his five Kranji wins.

On the other hand, he does not quite know what to make of Lim’s Spin in the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1,200m, despite a 100 per cent strike rate.

A win at first pairing in a Class 4 1,200m race on Feb 26 would suggest they hit it off instantly. But Beuzelin said he still had not really clicked with the Stephen Gray-trained Stratum five-year-old.

“I only got to know him on race-day. He won a nice race even if the saddle slipped,” he said.
“I had a choice this week and picked Lim’s Spin over Tom Cat, but he didn’t show me much in his work. Maybe he is not a flash worker. He’s hard to calibrate; he shows nothing in the morning.

“Steve did tell me he had a break after respiratory issues before, but he’s drawn well in five and I hope he can reproduce his last run.”

US trio favourites in Dubai World Cup

Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Pegasus World Cup winner Life Is Good will start as the favourite in the US$12 million (S$16.2 million) Group 1 Dubai World Cup over 2,000m on dirt at Meydan racecourse tonight.

The highest rated on 124 of the 10 runners from six different countries, he is quoted at 4-6. He will jump from Gate 1 and is expected to go all the way under jockey Irad Ortiz.

The Todd Pletcher-trained four-year-old has five wins and a second from six starts. 

He has yet to tackle 2,000m, but Pletcher noted that his charge won the Pegasus over 1,800m very well.

“So we’ve focused on just some good, stamina-building breezes and strong gallop outs,” said the Kentucky Derby-winning trainer.

“He does everything so willingly. He likes doing it, enjoys his job and all his work has been super good. I’m very happy with him, his weight looks good.”

Life Is Good’s main challenger, 3-1 second favourite Hot Rod Charlie and also from the US, has no concerns about the distance.

He warmed up for the assignment with a comfortable win in the Group 2 Maktoum Challenge (Round 2) over 1,900m last month. He has drawn Gate 7 and will have Flavien Prat atop.

Trainer Doug O’Neill’s assistant, Leandro Mora, who has been overseeing the colt’s preparation in Dubai, said the horse “can run all day”. 

“He never seems to get tired. Life Is Good is a good horse, but we’re here and we know he likes the track,” he added.

American trainer Bob Baffert’s Country Grammer is the third fancy, at 9-1. He will jump from Gate 5 with Frankie Dettori astride.

The Dubai World Cup Night features nine Group races totalling US$30.5 million in prize money.

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