Clements pins all hopes on Alqantur, Latest Racing News

Michael Clements used to be spoilt for choice when it was three-year-old time at Kranji, but not this year.

This Saturday, he saddles one solitary runner in Alqantur in the $110,000 Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1,200m) – and he is not even the favourite.

Last year, Clements hogged both 3YO races, the Sprint and the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1,400m) with Tiger Roar and Starlight respectively.

Besides Tiger Roar (2021), Countofmontecristo (2017) and Top Knight (2019) were also crowned 3YO champions. Such was the depth of Clements’ yard, even those who missed out went on to become topliners like Big Hearted or Siam Blue Vanda.

In stark contrast, there was no early 3YO buzz from the Zimbabwe-born master trainer this year – not even a late bloomer in the Silent Is Gold mould.

A quick glance through his barn does reveal nine three-year-olds, though. Two have not raced yet, but none of the remaining seven have really set pulses racing.

Alqantur probably fits the bill the closest with his two-from-two early, but he blotted his copybook at his last race when well beaten. 

Argentinian filly Istataba is next best, but her latest runs have left a lot to be desired. 

Mariana Trench raised hope, the Tivic Stable hype helping, but has since flattered to deceive.

Star Victory made an encouraging debut with a second to Major King last Saturday, and was even entered in the Sprint, but the son of Vancouver will stay in his box.

“We saw in his first race he is not a sprinter, he was one-paced. We still entered him, but he’s more a second leg horse,” said Clements.

The 2020 Singapore champion trainer clearly does not just make up the numbers for kicks.

But he sure misses the days he can walk into an armoury room where he has the luxury of picking and choosing his bullets.

“There was a slowdown due to Covid-19 in the last two years,” he explained of the sudden dearth of three-year-olds.

“The last batch of three-year-olds were bought as yearlings in 2019. I missed the breeze-up sales in 2020 and last year, but we also had much less client support. 

“But I just went to the Magic Millions Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast where I bought an All Too Hard colt for A$100,000. I’m also going to the October breeze-ups.

“You have a better chance of getting a good three-year-old from a larger base. We should have that back in 2025.”

Until then, all eggs are in the one Alqantur basket, in a race billed by many as a two-horse race between Stephen Gray’s Silent Is Gold and Tim Fitzsimmons’ Golden Monkey.

Clements does not mind flying under the radar, but he sure has not lost sight of the task at hand, more so when the attention is undivided.

“Alqantur’s first few runs were really good, but at his first run back from a break, he was slow out of the gates,” said Clements.

“He leaned on the side of the gate. He’s done that before but he tended to do it more that day.

“Things just didn’t go to plan, but we still believe he ran fair. He has come on since that run and he pleased us with his trial.

“From a break, we would’ve preferred a run into him prior to this race, but there was no other option.

“Anyway, he was bright, he has come back good after the first run.”

The Al Rashid Stable-owned son of Star Turn trialled last week. He matched motors with Golden Monkey before running second for race-rider Manoel Nunes.

Alqantur was ridden out more vigorously than Golden Monkey, but Clements is unconcerned.

“He’s never gone good on Poly. His trackwork is quite ordinary but he gets it on on raceday as his turf form is much better,” he said.

“He’s drawn well in three. It’s definitely better for him to draw low as he has a lot of gate speed.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.