Do not rule out Golden Monkey
Fitzsimmons’ 4YO may be the lowest-rated Lion City Cup contender but he is all class
On paper, he is like a boy taking on the men in the $300,000 Group 1 Lion City Cup over 1,200m at Kranji in Race 11 at 5pm on Sunday (Aug 14).
On 72 points, Golden Monkey is just in the Class 2 rating band, but he is up against proven Class 1 horses, headed by trainer Daniel Meagher’s reigning Horse of the Year Lim’s Lightning (113 points).
Lim’s Lightning, the winner of four Group 1s, is the likely favourite to retain his crown in Singapore’s premier sprint classic.
He is the top choice of many racing pundits. And, rightly so.
This is because of the race conditions. He is not conceding any weight to any of his rivals, except trainer Michael Clements’ Group 3-winning mare Celavi, who gets a 1.5kg reprieve and will carry 56kg.
While Lim’s Lightning is undoubtedly the best horse Singapore has seen for some time, we have not seen the best of Golden Monkey or trainer Donna Logan’s hat-trick hero King Arthur yet.
Both rising stars cannot be ruled out. They are worthy candidates.
Call me brave or naive, but I am banking on the lowest-ranked horse to play giant-killer.
By all accounts, Golden Monkey is a champion in the making.
Trainer Tim Fitzsimmons’ four-year-old chestnut gelding did not get much attention early.
When he won second-up on April 23, he beat only a maiden, Holy Eleanor, although his time of 1min 10.16sec for the 1,200m was encouraging.
It was his last two successes in the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1,200m and Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic over 1,400m that made many sit up.
He improved by the proverbial ton to win the Sprint in 1:08.87 and the Classic in 1:21.45. Both were near-record times.
It is true that he beat only horses of his own age, but it is crystal clear this horse has a big engine.
In both races, he just camped on the speed and then mesmerised with his turbo-charged finish when asked in the straight.
Gate 12 may not be ideal. But, if jockey Mark Zahra can get a spot behind the leaders in an expected fast tempo with so many speedsters around, watch Golden Monkey and Lim’s Lightning fly home.
It will be close: An either-or thing.
For those who are still sceptical of Gold Monkey’s chances because of his low rating, do remember that Lim’s Lightning got in last year’s race after only his Class 2 victory.
If he could defy the big promotion, why not the constantly improving Golden Monkey?