Lightning Strike back on track, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Lightning Strike back on track

Fitzsimmons’ rising stayer starts his Derby trail in Class 3 1,400m

Tim Fitzsimmons launches his bid for back-to-back Singapore Derby wins, with his main hope Lightning Strike making his comeback on March 30.

The Impending four-year-old has not been seen at the races since bringing up a brilliant four-in-a-row on Dec 30.

That day, he came from near-last under Vlad Duric to record a soft 1¼-length win against Class 4 gallopers at his very first test over the Derby distance of 1,800m.

The past three wins were all posted over the mile, starting off in lowly Class 5 company on Sept 23.

Such was the ease of that four-length win when he broke his maiden tag that Fitzsimmons already saw shades of Derby material there and then.

At the time, he would not put him in the same league as his 2023 Singapore Derby winner Golden Monkey, but the hot winning streak has certainly got him closer to his famous stablemate.

That is why the Australian decided to give him a long break to hopefully bridge that gap further.

“He’s done a good job to win four in a row. You can’t keep that up without getting a break,” said Fitzsimmons.

“He just needed one, and it’s not uncommon in racing. It’ll give him a better chance to reach his potential and develop further.”

The first race Lightning Strike will tackle in his 2024 campaign is the $70,000 Class 3 race (1,400m).

He will be rising in class and dropping back in trip, which Fitzsimmons agreed may look like a daunting combination, but probably not so for a first-up run.

“We’ve targeted this race. The 1,400m will be ideal, even if it may be a little on the short side,” said Fitzsimmons, who also saddles Saint Tropez in the race.

“I’m happy with both his trials. They were good hit-outs.

“We picked Ryan Curatolo to ride him. We think he’ll suit this horse.

“I think the horse will do his best work late. Whether he’s sharp enough to win, we’ll see.”

The more crucial tests will come at the next couple of assignments, though.

“After this, there’s a Class 3 1,600m on April 21,” said Fitzsimmons.

“Then it’s either a Class 3 1,800 on May 25 or the Group 3 Silver Bowl over 1,400m on June 9.

“We’ll decide after his April 21 run. But he’ll definitely go for the second leg and third leg, the Derby.”

Fitzsimmons has also entered Lightning Strike in the Group 1 Kranji Mile on May 18, but more on a “just-in-case” basis.

“I doubt very much he’ll run in the Kranji Mile,” he said.

On the other hand, one half of his confirmed duo in the $1 million Group 1 race (1,600m), Dream Alliance (Golden Monkey being the other half), is also running on March 30.

A luckless fifth in the Group 3 Committee’s Prize (1,600m) on March 9, the Into Mischief five-year-old contests the $85,000 Class 2 race (1,600m).

“I’m very happy with Dream Alliance. He was unlucky at his last start, he couldn’t get out,” said Fitzsimmons.

“He’s going well, he’s drawn a little wide (nine). But it’s not a big field. I expect him to run well.”