Trainer Donna Logan’s two-year-old Burkaan got off the mark in brilliant style against older horses, but will still have to lift to make it back-to-back wins in the $90,000 Inglis Ready2Race Stakes (1200m) on Sunday.
The New Zealand-bred son of Burgundy opened his account in a 1000m speed dash in Restricted Maiden company when he carried the postage-stamp load of 50kgs on June 17.
Though trapped three deep without cover, Burkaan – which means volcanic explosion in Arabic – pinched the race when he burst clear at the top of the straight, holding the fast-closing Kiss Your Song at bay by three-quarter length.
As he is running against his peers this time in the fourth Leg of the two-year-old series, the Singapore Golden Horseshoe series, seven kilos more will be slapped onto him (57kgs). He also concedes two kilos to the other juveniles (55kgs) as he has one win under the belt, with Dixieland Rock the only other winner to cop that penalty in the 12-horse field.
Logan admitted that the gelding raced by Mansoor Gandhi’s Al-Arabiya Stable faces a stiffer task this time from a weights-and-measures perspective, but such are the handicapping terms which everybody has to abide by to make the race a level-playing field.
To the New Zealand trainer, the more significant lessons to draw from Sunday’s race would be Burkaan’s handling of the surface – turf which he goes over for the first time and more to the point, the longer trip.
“He’ll be going over 1200m on the Long Course. We had to test him over this distance if he is to go for the last Leg,” said Logan in reference to the grand final, the $325,000 Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) on July 13.
“The plan is also to see how he goes on turf. He’s a big-striding horse, and one would hope he can handle it well.
“He’s pulled up well and I’m happy with the way he has trained on since. No doubt, it’s harder this time as he gives weight to the others, but that will give us a good guide how he measures up.”
Previously prepared by champion trainer and fellow Kiwi Mark Walker for whom he lost no marks with two creditable fourths, Burkaan opened his account at his very first start for his new handler in that Restricted Maiden race. Wearing blinkers for the first time, Burkaan incidentally brought up Logan’s second win (first was by Green Star) at Kranji since she began operations in April.
It was two-time Singapore champion apprentice jockey Wong Chin Chuen who was aboard on the day, and will be entrusted with the reins again on Sunday.
“CC rode him a treat, and naturally he stays on. We don’t change a winning combination,” said Logan.
“He’s got a nice barrier in three. Let’s hope he runs well.”
– Singapore Turf Club