I'm Incredible gets Gate 13 for Gold Cup
Trainer Shane Baertschiger and jockey Vlad Duric still upbeat with probable favourite's barrier
Trainer Shane Baertschiger did not get the inner draw he wished for Kranji's newest star I'm Incredible for Sunday's Dester Singapore Gold Cup but he was not losing sleep over it.
An inside gate would only make things a little easier but drawing Gate 13 was not so bad. After all, the star galloper could eventually start from No. 11 as two of the four emergency acceptors drew Barriers 2 and 11.
Baertschiger pointed to I'm Incredible's victory in the $800,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup over 1,800m last time out from the outer-most draw of 15 runners.
"Could be worse, could be 20. He's done 15 from 15 and got the job done," said the lanky Australian of the probable favourite at the Singapore Gold Cup Post Position Draw last night.
"Sun Marshal is drawn inside him (No. 12) and we'll go forward and across with him."
Trained by Lee Freedman, Sun Marshal is the reigning Singapore Derby winner and is one of the leading hopes.
Singapore champion jockey Vlad Duric was also unfazed with I'm Incredible's draw. He still sounded confident.
"He's the hardest to beat. I just have to go through the race a little bit. He's a horse who has got barrier speed, so he'll go forward and just follow a few of the leaders," said the Australian, who is heading for his third premiership title.
"I'll then try to tuck him somewhere and just ride a patient race. The horse is in great form. I'm really happy with him."
Before the QE II Cup, the Doha Stable-owned I'm Incredible captured two Group 3 features - the Ultima El Dorado Classic over 2,000m and the Committee's Prize over 1,600m - with A'Isisuhairi Kasim astride.
A win in Sunday's Gold Cup - a Group 1 feature over 2,000m and worth $1 million in prize money, will surely crown him the 2019 Horse of the Year.
Right on I'm Incredible's heels is the Ricardo Le Grange-trained King Louis, who was beaten by only a nose in the QE II Cup.
Former Singapore Turf Club racecaller Steve Levar, who owns King Louis under Royalty Racing Stable, had the luck of the draw.
He beamed when he drew Gate 3, with the chance of going one lane in, as second reserve Black Jade is drawn in Gate 2.
Both Le Grange and Levar concurred that King Louis will have more options from the inside.
"It gives us a few options - to have him wherever we want, so I think it's a good barrier. He's in great form," said Le Grange.
Reigning Gold Cup champion Elite Invincible again drew a horrendous barrier - No. 19.
But Elite Performance Stable's racing manager Sennett Ho, who did the draw, said the horse started from the widest gate (No. 16) last year but still won.
"It's the same like last year. We thought we won't run but he won. He can still go forward with the blinkers on," said Ho.
"Maybe the outside can give us a better run. The jockey is happy with him."
The other main hope, Group 1 Raffles Cup winner Makanani, drew a nice gate, No. 8, by his trainer, Gold Cup specialist Hideyuki Takaoka.
Last week's winner Super Dynasty - the likely leader - obtained pole position.