Singapore Racing: Bestseller Ready For Third Chapter

The Ricardo Le Grange-trained Bestseller has the Group runs on the board and looks primed to add the $110,000 Group 3 Silver Bowl (1400m) to his already impressive CV on Sunday.

Amazingly, the four-year-old son of Dream Ahead has raced at Group level on seven occasions from just 17 career starts, winning two: the Group 3 Committee’s Prize (1600m) on 9 March and the Group 3 Colonial Chief Stakes (1700m) on 2 December last year.

Add three second placings in the Group 3 Singapore 3YO Sprint (1200m), the Group 2 Singapore 3YO Classic (1400m) and the Group 2 Singapore Guineas (1600m) in 2023, and Bestseller knows how to produce on the big days.

You could also argue that, at his last start fourth in the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy (1400m) on 21 April, Bestseller could have finished a lot closer to the winner (Lim’s Kosciuszko) and in what is a terrific guide to Sunday’s feature, the runner-up in Lim’s Saltoro.

A point not lost on Le Grange, as he prepares his stable star for the Silver Bowl with one eye on the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) on 30 June and the jewel in the four-year-old crown, the Group 1 Singapore Derby (1800m) on 21 July.

“Most definitely he could have finished closer,” said the South African conditioner from trackwork on Thursday.

“I thought that run in the EW Barker (Trophy) was really good with the bad luck he had. And his work on the line was what we wanted to see.

“He came through the race very well and I was happy enough with his recent trial (won trial no 1 on 28 May in the time of 1min 01.37secs). It (the trial) wasn’t super strong, but he just needed ticking over as he’s fit and in a happy place.

“We’ve drawn the ace (barrier one) and there looks plenty of speed on, which suits us. Hopefully we sit a couple of lengths behind the leaders and he will be doing his best work late.”

And the jockey who has been given the reins for the four-year-old series of races is the in-form Brazilian, Bernardo Pinheiro, who was onboard Bestseller at two of his three placings (Classic and Guineas) in the three year-old series last year.

“Bernardo will be keen to win a Group race on him,” said Le Grange.

“He ran second twice in the 3YO series, so is hungry for sure and knows the horse well.

“And I think he (Pinheiro) is a more complete jockey since coming back from Dubai. He has improved in the sense that he has showed me he is now just as adept at riding quietly as he is at front running, which he was always very good at.

“So he will give Bestseller every chance to finish off the race and all bodes well for a big run.”

And with Bestseller’s two Group wins over 1600m and 1700m, Le Grange is well aware that improvement is expected over longer than the 1400m of the Silver Bowl.

“We knew as a three-year-old that he would be a Singapore Derby prospect,” he explained of the Leonardo Jr. Morales Javier-owned gelding.

“So the second (Stewards’ Cup) and third (Singapore Derby) legs are right up his alley. Longer the better. And the (Group 1) Singapore Gold Cup (over 2000m on 5 October) is a longer-term goal.

“But in saying that, he’s spot on for the 1400m on Sunday. He’s bright, he’s happy and I’m excited to see how he goes.

“From day one this horse has always tried to please us. A real fighter and you can’t train that trait into a horse. A pleasure to have in the stable.”

Of the dangers on Sunday, Le Grange suggested Lim’s Saltoro is the horse to beat, especially over seven furlongs.

“(Trainer) Daniel (Meagher) has done an amazing job with that that horse,” he said.

“He (Meagher) has brought him along the right way and his (Lim’s Saltoro) record (six wins for seven starts) speaks for itself.

“And obviously his run in the EW Barker (Trophy) showed 1400m is right up his alley, so we will have to be on our game on Sunday.

“But I’m very confident he is ready for this race. And the longer the races, the better he (Bestseller) will go.”

– Singapore Turf Club

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