Foxship, Greatham Boy are the morning stars
Fitzsimmons-trained stablemates, with Duric atop, call the shots at barrier trials
It was the Vlad Duric-Tim Fitzsimmons show at the morning trials on Nov 28.
They took the honours in both hit-outs with horses whose names would have been pencilled into many notebooks.
It was all systems go for Foxship in the opener and Greatham Boy made it a double when taking out the second and final trial.
Foxship is one-from-one since arriving at his Kranji stall on July 24, 2022. Under the care of Fitzsimmons, Foxship had his first race start on Nov 13 that same year and it was quite a debut.
Backed down to $8 in the very competitive Open Maiden contest over the 1,100m, Foxship came from off the pace to land the goodies by a ½-length.
Well, Fitzsimmons must be a staunch believer that patience is a virtue because Foxship has since been off the scene and his most recent trial was one of three hit-outs and the best to date.
Here is how it all panned out. Foxship jumped from the middle of the line but Duric was not eager to get him involved in any heroics. Instead, he kept him third from last and on a snug hold in the seven-horse field.
It was at the 600m mark that the Rommel five-year-old, racing widest of the lot, made inroads towards the lead, which all along had belonged to Kassab and 10-year-old Decreto.
Another 300m later and Foxship fashioned a run which took him to the front. He then held on and nullified a threat from Behind Player, the mount of Saifudin Ismail.
Still under a nice hold, Foxship would eventually prevail by a neck, with Navy Seals coming home from a long way back to claim third spot.
Right now, Foxship is an enigma. We know little about him except that he raced four times in Australia where he finished third on two occasions.
We also know that he races well when fresh. After all, he did win after four months of acclimatisation.
So, the next time you see his name in your race programme, have a saver on him. It would be his second race after a spell and it could be a case of deja vu.
As for that other Fitzsimmons trial winner Greatham Boy, he too has not been rushed into action.
He has raced just three times for two wins and a second.
It is an impressive report card – especially for a three-year-old.
And there was nothing “flukish” about his victories. Both times, he won on sheer ability.
The first time was on June 17. That day, he punished a Restricted Maiden field, winning by just under 1½ lengths over the 1,100m.
Then, at his next start on July 23, he took out the Singapore Group 3 Golden Horseshoe, the only two-year-old feature at Kranji, and which is run over 1,200m on grass.
On both occasions, he was under the care of Michael Clements, the 2020 Singapore champion trainer who bid farewell to Kranji after 25 years on Sept 30.
Subsequently sent to Fitzsimmons, he settled in nicely and it was on Nov 11 that he had his first race for his new yard and master.
That day, in a Class 4, 1,200m race on turf, he held second all the way – beaten only by From The Navy.
At the trials on Nov 28, Greatham Boy was always prominent, holding second to City Gold Telecom until the 150m when sent to the front by Duric.
The three-year-old by Stratosphere would eventually win by 1½ lengths and in a rather nice time of 60.59sec.
Kudos to Duric and Greatham Boy but there was nothing wrong with the effort by City Gold Telecom.
His trial was good and his connections would have been pleased.
After all, it does look like City Gold Telecom races well after a strong trial.
On three occasions in recent times, he seemed to benefit from trialling.
On June 1, he ran second to Gold Governor in a trial.
On June 11, he ran a bold race – losing out by a neck to Citygoldgeneration.
On July 6, he again ran his heart out when second to Pacific Snoopy in a trial. Following that, on July 15, he won a 1,200m race by a head.
Then on Oct 14, after running third in a trial on Sept 28, the David Kok-trained runner upped his performance to finish second to the very talented Mt Niseko. It was his sixth race start.
He has now got another “second” under his girth. As they say: “So how?”