Kiss Your Song gets Duric boost
Trainer hopes his charge can shed bridesmaid's tag
Five seconds in his last five starts - that's an unenviable and frustrating record.
Although contesting a good field in tonight's penultimate event, Queen Elizabeth II Cup-winning trainer Shane Baertschiger is hoping his charge Kiss Your Song can kiss the bridesmaid's tag goodbye.
Kiss Your Song does know where the line is, though - scoring three races in succession last year, the last one coming in a Class 3 race over the Poly 1,100m on Aug 24.
But getting the silver medals in his last five starts leave a bittersweet taste of being a nearly horse. It also test someone's patience as time passes by.
Determined to break the jinx, Baertschiger has booked the best in the business for the steering job on Kiss Your Song tonight - two-time Singapore champion and this season's tearaway leader, Vlad Duric.
The combination won the Group 1 QE II Cup last Sunday with I'm Incredible.
It will be Duric's first partnership with Kiss Your Song.
Baertshiger's stable jockey, John Powell, will be riding Kiss Your Song's biggest rival, the unbeaten Surpass Natural.
"That's fine. Vlad will ride him for the first time, and we hope that whipping might just give him that extra edge to win," said Baertschiger.
"He is the most consistent horse around, unfortunately, also the most consistently second horse. He has five seconds at his last five starts, but it's actually a record of seven seconds in his last eight starts.
"The only time he finished worse than second was when he ran fourth over 1,200m six starts back. It was a bit far for him.
"He's had 25 starts for 11 seconds, and only finished out of the placings five times. And he's already made more than $300,000 in stakes money, even if he's won only three times, what more can you ask?
"He's so genuine and has such a will to run well. Even when you test him up in class, he still runs second - like in that Class 2 race two runs back."
Baertschiger is, however, under no illusions that there is a high likelihood they may still end up playing second fiddle again, especially with Surpass Natural in the line-up.
"Leticia's horse is unbeaten and remains the horse to beat," said the Australian handler.
"But Kiss Your Song is in good shape, he has drawn one, Vlad on board, and we can only hope he can go one better this time."
It would be a nice reward for the patient owners, the Bingo Stable, who have played a significant part in Baertschiger's training career.
"They used to own El Milagro, who was my first Group winner (Group 3 Kranji Sprint in 2013)," he said.
"Now, besides Kiss Your Song, they also race Catch The Tiger and Always Innocent. I'd be really rapt if they could win with Kiss Your Song."