Major push towards Classic, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Major push towards Classic

Smart trial victory urges trainer Jason Ong to run Major King in upcoming Group 2 race

The joy of saddling a debut winner is indescribable, as Jason Ong will vouch when Major King scored first-up a month ago.

But, going with the young Singaporean trainer’s buoyant mood at Kranji yesterday morning, the follow-up barrier trial was clearly a close second.

“I liked the way he trialled this morning, compared to what he did at his first trial,” said Ong, who is the leading local trainer in third place, with 23 winners.

“He was still green and not really putting in. Like most young horses, he was just looking around and wasn’t really focused.

“I’ve done a bit of work with him and he’s improving. He was a lot more professional and well-put together today.

“Shafrizal (Saleh) also trialled him before he had his first run and trialled him again this morning. He told me the horse did improve a lot. I’m very excited with this horse.”

Ong needed to see those better mannerisms before crossing the bridge towards a loftier target for The Sisterhood Stable-owned son of Per Incanto next Saturday.

At the post-race interview following the debut win, Ong had then sat on the fence about Major King’s three-year-old prospects. 

The Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1,200m) was out, as it was on the following weekend. But Ong did not rule out the second and final leg, the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1,400m) which was then a month away.

As horses turn three only once, not to mention the $150,000 purse, Ong was tempted. 

But the consummate professional still held his horses.

“I don’t like to rush three-year-olds and young horses. We are stepping him up in distance and it’s not in a Novice race,” he said.

“I wanted him to show me he was able to make it first. I wouldn’t run him just for the sake of running.

“The way he won on debut tells me he has the ability and, after today’s trial, he has now ticked all the boxes. I’ve nominated him for the Classic. We’re going ahead.”

Ong, who has yet to win a Group race in four seasons at Kranji but enjoyed numerous big-race accolades as assistant trainer with his father’s champion galloper War Affair, is aware of the notable scalps his ward has to claim.

“It won’t be easy at all. Tim (Fitzsimmons) will be getting the best jockeys on his two horses (Golden Monkey and Gold Ten Sixty-One),” he said.

“The way my horse looks, he should appreciate more ground, even if mentally, he’s not right there yet. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares against them, but we had to have a crack.”

Ong also runs Song Of Nature in the Classic, but the son of All Too Hard has not made his presence felt after he broke his maiden tag at his third start.

“It was always the plan to run him in the Classic. After he won, he had a few races against older horses where he didn’t quite measure up,” said Ong. “I think the 1,400m against three-year-olds will suit him better.”

Regular partner Koh Teck Huat stays on Song Of Nature. Ong has yet to book a rider for Major King.

“Shafrizal is a hard-working lad. He rides Daniel Meagher’s horses every morning and, as I’m right across from Daniel’s stables, I often put him on my horses, too,” he said.

“He’s trialled Major King well. He knows the horse. But, at this stage I haven’t booked a rider yet. I’ll know by Monday.”

Yesterday’s Kranji barrier trial results:

1 Shihab (M. Ibrahim)
2 Pathfinder (I. Saifudin)
3 Super Talent 
4 Ejaz (C.C. Wong)
5 Lim’s Pride (D. Beasley)
Margins and time: Hd, hd, 1/2, 13/4 (1min 01.22sec)

1 Fight To Victory(N. Rozlan)
2 Legacy Power (B. Pinheiro)
3 Fiddlestick (Saifudin)
4 Sky Eight 
5 Sun Marshal (Wong)
6 Run And Run (Shafrizal)
7 Quadcopter (M. Lerner)
Margins and time: Hd, 1/2, 4, 101/2, 21/4, 24 (1:00.35)

1 Major King (S. Shafrizal)
2 Deception (S. Jamil)
3 Fighter (Ibrahim)
4 Circuit Mission (R. Stewart)
5 Lim’s Puncak Jaya (Beasley)
6 Fireworks (J. Bayliss)
7 Lim’s Denali (Wong)
8 Lim’s Spin (L. Beuzelin)
9 Lim’s Wish (R. Fahmi)
Margins and time: 1/2, 1/2, 11/2, 33/4, hd, 4, nk, 21/4 (1:00.27)

1 Red Dragon (K. A’Isisuhairi)
2 Happy Friday 
3 Watch Out Boss (Fahmi)
4 Superlative (Beuzelin)
5 Snip (Shafrizal)
6 Lim’s Zoom (Beasley)
7 Street Party (Bayliss)
8 City Gate (Wong)
Margins and time: 31/4, ns, ns 1, 41/2, 23/4, 1/2 (1:01.22)