Singapore Racing: Happy Moment Bar The Barrier Draw

An old trainers’ adage in the racing game is to “keep yourself in the best company and your horses in the worst”.

So while local trainer David Kok may only have led in nine winners this season, when you consider the astute Singaporean handler has a winning strike rate of 16.36% in 2022 (second only to James Peters on 17.72%), you would think he has been placing them very well.

Kok has two runners engaged on Saturday – Happy Moment in the $70,000 Class 3 race over 1200m and Star Empire in the $30,000 Class 5 race over 1200m (both on turf) – but realistically it was Happy Moment who may continue his good run.

On Monday after declarations, Kok was confident the Showcasing five-year-old could, but that opinion changed somewhat after the barrier draw on Wednesday.

“The barrier makes it very tough,” lamented Kok, who has engaged jockey Oscar Chavez for both his horses.

“He has been very honest from day one and while he was facing a good field on Saturday, we thought he would give it his best shot with a good barrier.

“He works well, he can run on the turf – you know he won on the turf at his first race – but it’s a good race, just that the wide gate in Class 3 hurts.”

The barrier gods were also working against the winning hopes of a couple of Tim Fitzsimmons’ better chances on Saturday in Relentless and Gold Ten Sixty-One in the $70,000 Class 3 race over 1600m and the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1100m, respectively.

But Fitzsimmons thought both would give very good accounts of themselves.

“This wasn’t the original plan with Relentless but it was going to be five weeks between runs into the (Group 2) Stewards’ Cup (over 1600m on June 26),” explained Fitzsimmons.

“But he just pulled up so well after that last win (May 21) and this will save us having to trial the horse as he’s just done really well.

“He’s drawn awkwardly again (seven) – he never seems to draw a good one – it’s a really good test but it will be beneficial for him.”

And Gold Ten Sixty-One?

“He’s a nice horse heading into the (Group 3) Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (over 1200m on June 18),” continued the leading Singapore trainer.

“Again, an awkward draw (12) but there’s a lot of speed in the race – I would imagine we would just sit off horses like Sahabat – and yes, he’s a good chance, a real promising horse.”

Manoel Nunes – who leads the jockeys’ premiership by an amazing 34 wins – is on both Relentless and Gold Ten Sixty-One, a point not lost on Fitzsimmons.

“In Manoel we trust!” quipped the AFL Bulldogs-loving tragic.

Nunes brought up career win no. 2000 last Saturday when knocking in an all too regular four-timer and joined the TrackTalk team – Scott Bailey and Pat Comerford – on Thursday where he was asked that after 55 wins by June, if he would reach the century mark this season.

“I hope so, but I don’t want to put a target and put pressure on myself,” said the Brazilian ace.

“I try to ride as many wins as I can (at) every race meeting.

“But of course, I try to reach that mark – as you mentioned we are halfway through the season – but if things continued, we should ride the 100 winners.”

As you would expect, Nunes has an excellent book of rides on Saturday – all 11 with serious winning chances – but was excited about Relentless going forward.

“Actually, Tim has done a great job and he showed that his horses improved with good teamwork,” continued Nunes.

“Relentless won a beautiful race last time, I’m excited how he will race this week up in class.

“But he actually carries 3kg less and so the horse will be a Derby contender for sure.”

The $400,000 Group 1 Singapore Derby will be run over 1800m on July 17 and that gives connections – Arexevan-Relentless Stable – something very exciting to look forward to.

– Singapore Turf Club


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