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Coin Toss lands Singapore Guineas

Moor joy for Gandharvi’s Classic winner in final leg of S’pore Three-Year-Old Challenge

Coin Toss made it a “clean sweep” of his own in the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge after he won the $150,000 Group 2 Singapore Guineas (1,600m) on Saturday.

The son of Flying Artie also claimed the second leg, the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1,400m) on May 6, with Australian short-term visitor Daniel Moor aboard on both occasions.

But Coin Toss was a withdrawal in the first leg. Trainer Michael Clements pulled out all his runners that day in the wake of five positive swabs for morphine at his stable.

A sense of “what if” might rankle a little. Had Coin Toss lined up in the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1,200m) – eventually won by Donna Logan’s January – he could have become the first horse to win the 3YO Triple Crown since War Affair in 2014.

It would have also been a first for Clements, despite the 2020 Singapore champion trainer’s upper hand in the series of late.

But the Zimbabwe-born handler was not bothered by such conjecture. If he could turn back the clock, he would not change a thing, purely on a matter of principle.

“It’s possible he could’ve won all three legs. He was sprinting well leading to the 3YO series,” he said.

“It was at the back of my mind. But I have absolutely no regrets.

“We made the correct decision. Running my horses that day made no sense, it could’ve created more problems for myself, the owners.

“It is what it is. At the end of the day, Coin Toss won the two legs, and that’s what matters the most.”

Clements was adding his name to the Singapore Guineas honour roll for the third time. Top Knight did it in 2019, while the first one, Revolte, won back in 2009 when the race was not part of the 3YO series.

Incidentally, he was also securing his 800th win since his debut in Bukit Timah in December 1998.

Just winning the Guineas probably meant more than hogging the two legs or the milestone, though. The iconic race was first canned in 2021 during the restrictive Covid-19 years, with many ruing its loss, and uncertain if it will ever return.

To the relief of the local industry, the former Group 1 event was reinstated in 2023, along with other features like the Silver Bowl and Singapore Golden Horseshoe.

When the club announced it was back on Nov 21, Clements was smiling. He knew he had a raw diamond that fitted the bill.

“It was a first step-up to the mile. Potentially, we knew he could do it, but he had to prove it,” he said.

“It was warranted to race him closer today because it was over 1,600m, whereas he was quite a bit further back in the second leg.

“It was the right thing to do. But Daniel said he actually put himself there, like he wanted to be there.

“Daniel rode a great race, too.”

Moor did not fail to return the compliment to both Clements and assistant trainer Michael White.

“He’s a lovely horse and he makes my job very easy. The team around me, too, the two Michaels,” said Kranji’s frequent flyer.

“We’ve got faith in the horse, we know how he needs to be ridden. We’ve got great trust in him, we know he’s going to be effective late.

“I can’t wait for this horse to progress. Next year, the Kranji Mile won’t be without his keeping.

“He’s also got the 4YO series. The world is his oyster.”

From the way Coin Toss was smothered up in fourth, just waiting for the top of the straight to let rip, Moor clearly did not think that stamina was a query for the Gandharvi Stable-owned galloper.

“From the last race, we ran the trip out the strongest. Some horses didn’t run it out, but we were good through the line,” he said.

“As he doesn’t pull or do anything wrong, I was very confident that he’d handle the step-up in trip.

“I just left him alone as he’s hard to ride when he lands in an awkward spot. I was counting on his very good turn of foot.

“I was actually supremely confident. When he switched off at the 1,000m, I knew we could win.

“There was only one concern. I didn’t want to be carted off as Bestseller drifted out, but Bernardo (Pinheiro) straightened him up.”

Ricardo Le Grange’s consistent galloper again played second fiddle, having finished runner-up in the first two legs as well. Coin Toss ($14) clocked 1min 34.08sec for the 1,600m on the short course.

Coin Toss has made more than a few quid with that fourth win in the Singapore Guineas. A quarter of a million now sits in his bank.

Saturday's Singapore ResultsPDF icon res28.pdf

 

 

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