Singapore Racing: Class Riser Ghalib Eyeing Back-To-Back Wins

Ghalib may be jumping in class in the $100,000 Kranji Stakes A race (1100m) on Saturday, but trainer Steven Burridge thought he has what it takes to win it.

The four-year-old son of I Am Invincible trounced his rivals at his last start after winning easily by four-and-a-quarter lengths in a Class 3 race over 1200m on 14 January.

That was Ghalib’s fourth win from eight starts in Singapore since arriving as a one-time winner from Australia. More importantly, it was his first hurrah on the Polytrack, giving Burridge the option on the all-weather surface this time.

While connections have targeted the lofty Group 3 Silver Bowl (1400m) on 9 June for him, the Al-Arabiya-owned gelding will carry merely 52.5kgs on Saturday which suits him, albeit he will be up against some serious Polytrack sprinters.

Apart from the light weight, Ghalib will also jump from gate one and have five-time Singapore champion jockey Manoel Nunes back on board. Burridge is looking forward to a good run.

“The way he won on this track (Polytrack) at his last start, he would be hard to beat on that effort,” said Burridge of Ghalib, who gave him his only win this year thus far.

“I wasn’t surprised by him winning that day; more so the margin. It was pretty comprehensive.

“He drops in weight and has drawn well again, so if he jumps well, he should get a nice sit behind the speed for Manoel.

“We would expect (trainer) Tim’s (Fitzsimmons) two horses (Lucky Jinsha and Illustrious) to set a reasonable pace out front and hopefully, Ghalib can run them down.

“Lucky Jinsha was pretty good last start, so he looks to be back in form. He is well-weighted too (52kgs after jockey Zyrul Nor Azman’s two-kilo claim) and is the main danger together with Major King, who goes good on the Polytrack.

“But I couldn’t be happier with my horse. He hadn’t been overraced when he came to my stable (from ex-Kranji trainer Michael Clements) and I think he has acclimatised really well since.”

The option of running on the Polytrack was a good alternative because Burridge actually had to withdraw Ghalib the Group 3 Fortune Bowl (1400m) last Sunday due to a small hoof injury.

“He (Ghalib) pricked his foot last week when getting a shoe on, so we had to pull him out of the Fortune Bowl,” he explained.

“It’s a shame as he would have got a start and he has won over 1400m before (in a Class 3 race on 25 November). It was a precautionary measure and he’s fine now.

“It would have been nice to see how he measured up (in the Fortune Bowl) as he will have a crack at the same trip in the Silver Bowl, but this Saturday’s race is a better winning option for him with 52.5kgs.”

Burridge, who rated Ghalib the best winning proposition among his six runners on Saturday, was also happy to report that his two Fortune Bowl runners, Street Of Dreams and Invincible Tycoon, both pulled up well after finishing second and sixth in the feature race respectively.

“The best horse (Golden Monkey) won but I thought my two did really well,” he said.

“Street Of Dreams got a gun run from (jockey) Ronnie (Stewart) from the good gate (one) and it was nice to see him back near his best.

“I thought Invincible Tycoon ran his usual honest race to finish where he did.

“Both of them will go to the (Group 3) Committee’s Prize (1600m) and they will get in well at the handicap conditions.

“I will get Ronnie back to ride Street Of Dreams and (jockey) Ryan (Curatolo) will stay on Invincible Tycoon.”

The Committee’s Prize will be held on March 9.

– Singapore Turf Club

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