Leading trainer Mark Walker is praying the heavens do not open for his Singapore Gold Cup hopeful Sacred Croix this Sunday.
To the Kiwi handler, it was the cut in the ground on Singapore Derby day in July that proved costly for the Savabeel five-year-old in the 1800m feature.
Sacred Croix made an encouraging racing comeback in a Class 2 race over a 1200m journey not made to suit last Friday. Held up in last place, he motored home to run fifth less than two lengths off the winner Grand Koonta.
Walker revealed it was not quite in his plan to launch him over six furlongs first-up, hence his decision to back him up over the mile of the $85,000 Class 2 race on Sunday.
The Dato Yap Kin San-owned gelding currently sits in 20th place in the order of entry of the $1 million Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) on November 10.
“Sacred Croix showed on Derby day he doesn’t like a wet track. If it doesn’t rain this Sunday, especially a few hours before the race, he has a very good chance of winning,” said Walker.
“He ran on nicely last week. I had no choice but to run him over 1200m as there were no 1400m race.
“Barrier trials are very soft. Ideally, I would rather gone 1400m than go 1200m then into the mile.
“He will probably need one more race after Sunday’s – which one, I’m not 100% sure as yet, but it’d be good to get him up to a certain distance.”
Regular partner Benny Woodworth, who reeled in a four-in-a-row on him earlier in the year, stays on board while lightweight jockey Juan Paul van der Merwe rides Walker’s second runner Yulong Edition.
Walker, however, said that the Polytrack expert and last-start winner in Class 4, was rising two classes by default. The Irish-bred four-year-old by Makfi scored his two wins at Kranji on Polytrack.
“The Class 3 race over 1600m on Polytrack was scrapped. That’s why I’m running Yulong Edition in that race,” said the two-time Singapore champion trainer.
“He’s in good form, but he’s up against a little bit.”
Sacred Croix and Yulong Edition will jump alongside from the pens, in gate No 4 and 5 respectively.
– Singapore Turf Club