Eruption another hot 3YO prospect, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Eruption another hot 3YO prospect

Fitzsimmons unveils promising youngster, but victory tempered by personal loss

Trainer Tim Fitzsimmons’ team of three-year-olds is growing bigger by the week.

After Fire, June and Greatham Boy staked their claim for a berth in that group in the last three weeks, a fourth option has emerged in the shape of Eruption on March 2.

While Fitzsimmons’ first three hopefuls’ combined winning margins did not exceed ¾ lengths, Eruption, ridden by ManoelNunes, recorded a much more comfortable 1½-length victory in the $50,000 Class 4 race (1,400m).

The 1min 23.16sec clocked in Race 4 on the Short Course A was, however, more than two seconds slower than the course record.

But the Australian trainer was still suitably impressed with the all-the-way success.

“He’s always been a consistent horse. He was very green early, he’s still learning,” he said.

“The blinkers gave him an edge today, for sure. He was sharper.

“He’ll definitely go for the Three-Year-Old races, especially the 1,200m and 1,400m legs. I’m not sure about the Guineas, though. We’ll see.”

The query for most Group 2 Singapore Guineas prospects over the 1,600m trip is not a new debate.

Quite often, those youngsters are unexposed to anything beyond 1,400m when they come through their grades.

For example, Coin Toss won the 2023 Singapore Guineas at his very first test over the mile.

Champion galloper Inferno did the same when the classic mile race was last staged at Kranji in 2020.

Breeding buffs may argue that Eruption’s sire Xtravagant’s 8½-length win in the 2015 Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1,600m) in record time put him in good stead for the Singapore Guineas on May 18.

But, Fitzsimmons, who has singled out only June as a potential miler, has at this stage treated each race on its own merit, one at a time.

In any case, the three legs, which also comprise the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1,200m) on April 6 and Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1,400m) on April 27, are not run as the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge at the last Singapore horse racing season in 2024.

Nunes was also treading carefully when asked how far could the Buffalo Stable-owned Eruption go.

“I’m not sure if he will get 1,600m,”said the Brazilian jockey.

“With time, maybe he will get it, but the blinkers have to come off.

“But today, he had blinkers on for the first time. I think he needed them today, they helped him a bit, even if at the beginning, he was a bit keen. He’s a three-year-old and is still green.

When he took the lead, I was able to control the pace in front. It’s only at the 400m, when there was not much pressure, that he came back underneath me. He was good and relaxed then. He was travelling in a good spot.

“I gave him a breather and, when I asked him to go in the straight, he quickened very well.”

The five-time Singapore champion jockey needed two more wins from his other seven bookings to reach the 700-win milestone at Kranji, but Eruption turned out to be his only winner.

He had been counting on the well-backed Royal Commission (joint $14 favourite with the winner War Star in Race 5) and Golden Brown ($12, Race 11), both for Fitzsimmons and the Gold Stable. But they could not fare better than second.

Likewise, Fitzsimmons was unable to add another winner to his tally, but that win from Eruption did carry a special poignancy.

“My father passed away over the week. He’d be really proud of me today,” said the 2022 Singapore champion trainer.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. He’s always supported my decision to become a trainer.”