All up to Quadcopter’s take-off, says Takaoka
Japanese trainer is wary of ex-roarer’s barrier antics even if form is on the rise
Kranji went quiet when $198 bolter Quadcopter shot clear like only Polytrack lovers can do at his last-start win.
Funnily enough, it was after the son of Zoustar stopped making noise that he was tossed more regularly onto the synthetic track.
Quadcopter was a roarer, an equine condition that affects the upper airway in horses and causes them to make a loud noise at work.
Before his tie-back surgery in July 2021, he had had only two Polytrack tests with mixed results – a third and an unplaced run.
It was French jockey Marc Lerner who sold trainer Hideyuki Takaoka the idea of revisiting the alternative track more often.
“I’m not sure if it’s the surgery, but he was working very well on Polytrack,” said Lerner.
“Takaoka also said we should bring him back to shorter distances. That was a smart move.”
The results did not show overnight. If anything, they were inconclusive because of his fly-jumping habit getting in the way.
But Quadcopter does remember he is a racehorse at times, and not his namesake: Vertical start from the gates is a no-no.
In the last 15 starts since the surgery, and on two of the rare occasions he jumped on terms, Quadcopter won twice, both on Poly.
When stewards quizzed Takaoka about the stunning win on Feb 18, the Japanese mentor could think of only the all-weather.
“Marc said he was moving so well on Poly. I think that after the surgery, he took the kickback better, and the shorter distance also suited better,” said Takaoka.
“He’s now won twice on Poly, which also gives us a few more options. But this week, we put him back on turf because the next Poly 1,200m is not until April.
“I only worry about his start – he rears. He did okay at his last win, but it can come back any time.”
Lerner also rued that unfortunate chink in the armour being part of the Quadcopter package.
“If he jumps good, he’s hard to beat, like at his last win,” he said.
“We can only keep our fingers crossed he is on his best behaviour this Saturday. If he does, he will be in the mix, even on turf.”
Takaoka said he would go through the opposition closer to the race, but one factor which will not slip under his radar is the weather forecast.
“I’ve not really seen the field. It seems open on paper, even if that Jason Lim horse (General Command) is going for a three-in-a-row,” he said.
“But I know my horse likes soft ground. If it rains, it’s even better.”
Lerner will also do a rain dance on Friday, while praying the 12-horse field scurry along.
“He doesn’t have that early speed to go forward,” he said.
“There’ll be some speed to the race. That should suit him if we settle in a nice position off the pace – like at his last win.”
Quadcopter races in the silks that, until Tuesday, were 11th in the order of entry to the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1,600m) next Saturday week on March 25.
But, after a quick scan of the other nominations, Takaoka has decided that stalwart galloper Jupiter Gold would be out of his depth in the $300,000 feature.
Plagued by leg issues, the 2018 Singapore Derby winner has not saluted in 4½ years. Some have even wondered how come the rising 10 has not been retired, but Takaoka scoffed at the idea.
“There is nothing wrong with him. I just thought the field (Raffles Cup) was too strong for him – no point running him,” he said.
“So we decided to instead run him in the Class 2 over 1,400m the following week (April 1).
“He still looks young, his legs are okay now, and his trackwork is good. We’ll just keep trying.
“Maybe we’ll try blinkers on him next time just to change things up. He wore them only once, in the Singapore Gold Cup (2017), to let him settle better.
“The trip (2,200m) was still too far. This time it’s to try something different, you never know.”
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